Pianist John O’Conor is almost a national treasure in Ireland, but known by a relatively small circle of connoisseurs here. I was sad that I was away for his masterclasses at the Royal Conservatory of Music last week, and his solo recital last Sunday.
A sensitive, elegant performer, Beethoven master and champion of the music of John Field, his understatement masks a profound artistry.
He turns 65 today, so I thought I’d celebrate (and make up for my absence on Sunday) by listening to him carefully deploy one of the world’s favourite Beethoven piano sonatas, No. 21, known as the Waldstein, which deceptively starts off in the uncomplicatedly sunny key of C Major.
Here is O’Conor in a Telarc recording from 1987: