The program notes did not include descriptions of the pieces, so Arnone shared verbal explanations.
He began the night in reverse chronological order with the most modern piece, George Crumb's 1955 "Sonata for Solo Cello" preparing the audience for an atypical piece.
Arnone described the piece as "Bach meets Savador Dali." He added that his mother dislikes the piece because of its atonality. Even so, "this is the most normal piece you're going to hear from Crumb," Arnone said.
"My mom likes this one much better," Arnone said, introducing the "Suite for Violoncello" by Gaspar Cassado. Cassado, a 20th-century Spanish cellist, studied performance with Pablo Casals and composition with Maurice Ravel.
The piece drew on the sounds of Cassado's native country, mimicking the Spanish guitar and evoking scenes of a warm night at an outdoor café, completed by the third movement's "machismo dance," as Arnone called it.
The night closed with J.S. Bach's Suite No. 6. Arnone explained Bach's suites as a chronological progression, from youth to death, with the sounds of the sixth suite echoing the sweetness of the afterlife. Arnone's sensitive performance conveyed the serenity of the piece.
Arnone gave the audience a night of well played and humorously illuminated cello works that made the sometimes daunting world of classical music accessible and left them invigorated by his passionate performance.