Ralph Moore

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Puccini: Madama Butterfly (Pristine Audio)

A deeply touching Butterfly and a thrilling Pinkerton who are all the more striking in Pristine’s vivid remastering [RMo]

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Donizetti: Dalinda (Oehms Classics)

Good, honest, open-throated singing in an intriguing and highly enjoyable reconstruction of a formerly lost work – and a star performance by the lead soprano [RMo]

Thomas Quasthoff (bass- baritone) Evening Star (Deutsche Grammophon)

A cunningly devised programme ideally showcasing Quasthoff’s vocal versatility and dramatic gifts [RMo]

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Elgar: Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 (Hallé)

Elder’s later pair of Elgar symphonies is a fine achievement in beautiful sound – but not, perhaps, the last interpretative word [RMo]

Mercadante: Orazi e Curiazi (Opera Rara)

The best of a composer forever doomed to dwell in Verdi’s shadow, performed by a first-rate cast and starring the great Nelly Miricioiu [RMo]

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Strauss: Die schweigsame Frau (BR Klassik)

A lovely supplement to the complete live recording in much better sound [RMo]

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Mahler: Symphony No 3 (BR Klassik)

Flawlessly played, beautifully gauged and balanced and in spectacular sound, this is a lovely souvenir of the late Jansons’ prowess as a Mahler conductor [RMo]

Elgar: Symphony No. 1, Cockaigne Overture  (Oehms Classics)

A swift, cohesive, sensitive and beautifully played account of the greatest English symphony [RMo]

Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique (BR Klassik)

A disappointingly dull reading in mediocre sound [RMo]

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Bruckner: Symphony 4 (Fontec)

Here we go again … best avoided [RMo]

Wagner: Götterdämmerung (Pristine Audio)

The culmination of a great Ring cycle has a place among the best: scintillating singing, playing and conducting [RMo]

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Bruckner: Symphony No 4 (Profil)

A magnificent account of the last version of Bruckner’s most approachable symphony, beautifully played in ideal recorded sound [RMo]

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Bruckner: Symphony 7 (Capriccio)

A patchy account, hobbled by a particularly egregious bit of tinkering with the codas of the first movement and the finale [RMo]

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Bruckner: Symphony No 9 (Myrios Classics)

A swift, coherent, absorbing onslaught upon Bruckner’s Ninth which carries its own conviction [RMo]

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Sibelius: Symphonies (Brilliant Classics)

A fine set but compromised by comparatively lacklustre Second and Seventh Symphonies [RMo]

Bruckner: Symphony No 4 (Onyx)

Hindoyan does absolutely everything right in a beautifully played account [RMo]

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Wagner: Siegfried (Pristine Audio)

Another majestic instalment of living theatre  – the best so far – in Kna’s 1956 Bayreuth Ring, in superb sound but again afflicted by persistent coughing [RMo]

Mozart’s Requiem

A survey by Ralph Moore

Vaughan Williams: Symphonies Nos 1-9 (RCA)

Over fifty years on, this set is still holding up pretty well, despite a few negligible flaws [RMo]

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Bruckner: Symphony 3 (Capriccio)

Poschner once more subjects Bruckner’s Third Symphony to unreasonable and unaesthetic haste [RMo]

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Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, Mussorgsky: Night On Bald Mountain (Warner Classics)

A fine Scheherazade, beautifully played but not necessarily superior to classic versions, and two thrilling Mussorgsky novelties which for me constitute the main interest of this issue [RMo]

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Wagner: Die Walküre (Pristine Audio)

Pristine’s stereo remastering reveals its glories yet more vividly – but unfortunately also highlights the constant hacking of the audience and Windgassen’s coordination problems. [RMo]

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Ponchielli: La gioconda (Pristine Audio)

A great Callas recording is tidied up a bit, and her co-singers are brought into better focus [RMo]

Beethoven: Complete Symphonies (National Symphony Orchestra)

A mercilessly rushed series of performances which almost invariably sacrifices grandeur in favour of mere propulsion [RMo]