Classical and Irish/Celtic music might seem an unlikely combination, but pianist John O'Conor (who shouldn't be confused with guitarist John O'Connor, although both are Irish) brings the two together with ambitious, if uneven, results on My Ireland. Recorded in Limerick, Ireland in 1998, this CD finds the Dublin resident joining forces with the Irish Chamber Orchestra (conducted by Mitch Farber) and providing classical-influenced interpretations of traditional Irish/Celtic songs. Many of these jigs and airs were written during the 19th century, including "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen," "Cockles and Mussels" (also known as "Molly Malone"), and "The Kerry Dances." Meanwhile, "The Coulin" dates back to at least the 17th century, and anyone with even a slight knowledge of Irish/Celtic music will recognize "The Derry Air," which came to be known as "Danny Boy" after Frederick Weatherly's lyrics were added in 1913. These melodies, of course, are generally associated with traditional Irish/Celtic bands, not classical orchestras -- and O'Conor deserves credit for trying something different with them. My Ireland occasionally misses the mark, but more often than not, the CD is interesting and likable.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson