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:
Album Reviews for Beethoven Complete Cello Sonatas 1-5
"The coordination between the two musicians sets this recording apart, and each sonata is individually conceived. There is a lot to absorb here, and it's the kind of recording to which one will return repeatedly." AllMusic
"McDonagh, who as a child studied piano with O’Conor, is a great partner and clearly on the same level here, the duo being as one with every nuance in dynamics and tempi in outstanding performances." The Whole Note
"McDonagh and O'Conor take the opening of Op. 102/1 to whispered heights, and again later there is a most appealing sense of two-as-one. They find buoyant, almost dancing, rhythms." Classical Explorer
"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
"These two fine musicians work together with clarity and love for the music, recorded in clear and balanced sound." American Record Guide
"McDonagh plays with flawless technique, faultless intonation, and a strong yet meltingly sweet tone. Fanfare Magazine
Lorcan Murray's Classic Drive "CD of the Week" May 10th, 2021. RTÉ Lyric FM
"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