Today the internationally acclaimed musician and composer plays a Stradivarius cello in concert halls across the country.
The Ted Senior Fellow will perform a recital at the Lensic Performing Arts Center on Friday, Feb. 16. Roman will be paired with pianist Guilles Vonsattel, recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant.
The musicians will open the concert with “Undercurrents,” by Roman’s friend Greg Taylor.
“His style is very jazz-influenced,” the cellist said in a telephone interview from New York. “He’s a great improviser. He also has a very tender sense of melody. The second movement is very heartfelt and open, almost like a song.”
The pair will next dive into Beethoven’s Sonata in C Major for Cello and Piano.
“It’s one of those extremely triumphant from the depths of your soul at the end,” Roman said. “When Beethoven goes for joy, it’s deep and bubbly.”
The duo also will play minimalist Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s Fratres for Cello and Piano (1977). Pärt describes the music of this period as “tintinnabuli” – like the ringing of bells.
“He has a huge cult following,” Roman said. “He goes into these states of experience and states of mind. You can really dive into it emotionally.”
The composer LeoÅ¡ Jánacek based his Pohádka for Cello and Piano on a Czech fairy tale.
“It’s one of those classic Czech stories that includes a prince, a lord of the underworld and a forest and a princess and magic,” Roman said. “All of these pieces of the story are manifested in little motifs and it’s just beautiful.”
The concert will end with Beethoven’s Sonata in C Major for Cello and Piano. The composer wrote it between the end of 1812 and 1817, during which time the ailing genius experienced a period of literal and figurative silence as his deafness became overwhelmingly profound and his productivity diminished.
“The Beethoven is like nature,” Roman said. “It’s this epic sonata and one of my favorite pieces of his. He ends warmly rather than going for the big, splashy finish. The second movement is so devastatingly beautiful. The third movement is this wild scherzo. The last movement almost feels like a hug.”
Roman played the Taos Music Festival as a student.
“I think I was 18 or 19,” he said.