Four and a half stars
Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall; Butler University; Feb.20.
Jon Crabiel has this incredible way of taking two sticks, hitting stuff and making amazing music. No matter what instrument he was on, Crabiel showcased amazing musical skills throughout the program. Basta! For solo marimba by Butler faculty member Frank Felice was a delightfully mischievous piece. “Basta” is an Italian word, meaning “enough” (something you would say to your 2-year-old wreaking havoc), and Crabiel played that piece accordingly. You could distinctly pick out the precocious child’s behavior, and the exasperated parent’s response, in this piece that covered the marimba’s entire spectrum. Mourning Dove Sonnet for vibraphone by Christopher Dean followed, a hauntingly beautiful work. For this piece, Crabiel picked up both mallets and two double bass bows, pulling them across the keys for great effect. Bruce Hamilton’s Chopel Perilous for 2 snare drums and tape was, to quote the composer, “An anxiety ridden rock ’n’ roll horror-showpiece,” showing the snare drum isn’t just for marching bands. The program was finished with Crabiel’s own arrangement of Sting’s “Fragile,” confirming that no matter the instrument or genre, Crabiel is quite a musician."