George Crumb's music is obviously a result of a fascination with sound. Philip Mead's performance of Crumb's solo piano works shows that he shares that fascination with variation in timbre, articulation, volume, and pitch. Mead is sensitive to the different types of sounds in these works, not only those played on or in the piano, but also those he has to voice himself. Each sound is distinct and the contrasts between them are distinct, with everything carefully colored. Mead fully and clearly realizes the meanings of titles and expression markings. The opening of "Makrokosmos I," "Primeval Sounds," is not percussively barbaric, but a candid statement of the earth's creation. In "Makrokosmos II," "A Prophecy of Nostradamus" is large and frightening, with a quiet passage hinting at the doom to come quoting the "Dies Irae." Variation 13 of the "Gnomic Variations," marked misterioso, is mysterious in a suspenseful, film noir way, while the "Berceuse for the Infant Jesu" in "A Little Suite for Christmas" has a gently singing and rocking quality. The two sets of "Makrokosmos" are favored by Mead, evidenced not only by the amount of space devoted to them in his program notes, but also by the care he takes with them. In "A Little Suite for Christmas" the distinctions between sounds can draw attention away from the overall scope and shape of the work, but in the "Makrokosmos," this isn't a problem. There is a sense that "Makrokosmos I" is a set of miniatures, while "Makrokosmos II" has an overarching structure. Mead appreciates Crumb's music for what it is, playing it with honesty, sympathy, and straightforwardness, which allows the listener to appreciate it also.