Ailbhe McDonagh cello, John O'Conor piano, Steinway & Sons music label 2021.
Irish cellist Ailbhe McDonagh and world renowned Beethoven specialist John O'Conor celebrated Beethoven’s 250th anniversary year with this double album of his complete sonatas for cello and piano recorded at St. Peter’s Church, Drogheda, Ireland.
O’Conor and McDonagh have a special rapport; their musical connection began when McDonagh studied piano with O’Conor at the age of 8. McDonagh gave her debut recital with O’Conor at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland.
Listen to the full album on Spotify:
"Cellist Ailbhe McDonagh and pianist John O'Conor coalesce perfectly, as if propelled by the music's undertow, and echo each other's expressive mien with dynamic balance, as if holding a cordial conversation. [...] As is the norm these days, two young musicians out to impress would play everything fast for the sake of velocity, and two veterans would make everything sound overly pedantic. But this ... this is music making that blends head and heart seamlessly." Classical Music Sentinel
"McDonagh and O’Conor seem highly attuned (so to speak) both to the music and to each other: their balance is flawless, and their pacing has a natural quality that makes it sound as if these works could not possibly be played at any other tempo." Infodad.com
"Out of several performances of the Beethoven A major sonata heard over 30 years, McDonagh’s was the most musically complete and satisfying.” Irish Times
“O'Conor brought real poetry to his recital of late-period Beethoven ... incisive, even visionary projections that drove to the heart of the musical matter.” Washington Post