Crippled Symmetry, written in 1983, is one of the lengthy epic works of Morton Feldman's last years. Though, at 90 minutes, it falls far short of the five-to-six hours that the same year's Second String Quartet lasts, nonetheless, by its very duration and limited musical means, it does require a kind of listening very different from that of traditional concert music. (Feldman considered the work--and much of his late music--to be an aural counterpart to Turkish rugs, and in particular the manner in which these rugs constantly repeat their patterns, albeit with tiny changes.)
Crippled Symmetry is for three performers, one playing flute and bass flute, one playing glockenspiel and vibraphone and the third playing piano and celeste (Feldman fans will have noted the similarity of ensemble to that of Why Patterns? and the monumental For Philip Guston). The musical material is limited in means, with much repetition--though the material is gradually varied throughout the work--and only partial co-ordination between the three performers. As with all of Feldman's late work, the music is primarily slow and quiet; it is also considerably more rhythmically complex than it appears on first listening.
Over the work's 90 minute duration the textures generally tend towards simplicity as the musical material becomes gradually denatured, though this is far from a fixed process--the complexity of the music ebbs and flows in waves, until by the end all three performers are reduced to reiterating single notes, and the music stumbles to a halt. This is certainly a kind of minimalism, but of a much more subtle variety than the more commercial music of an Arvo P?rt or a Philip Glass; to my mind it has much more musical lastability as well.