An immaculately crafted, beautiful and poignant collection of nine piano pieces, What is living and what is dead was written for and recorded by Ireland’s foremost young pianist Michael McHale. This monumental release was launched and performed in full for the first time at the American Irish Historical Society in New York City on 11 May 2017.
Writing for Classical Ear, Michael Quinn What is living and what is dead as “music that moves with a glacial pace interrupted by turbulent surges but always exuding a gentle, glowing warmth.”
“There’s something of Ravel in O’Connor’s exquisitely pastel palette,” he continues, “an echo of Peter Maxwell Davies in its liquescent ebb and flow, but the translucent limpidity of the textures, the thoughtful intensity of expression, the underlying tenderness that binds the whole hypnotically together are wholly O’Connor’s.”
He finishes with praise for the album’s performer: “Belfast pianist Michael McHale plays with the utmost care for tonal detail and under-stated textural sophistication.”