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Album: Haydn, Italian Arias – Quasthoff et al, (Deutsche Grammophon)

First of the inevitable anniversary year releases, Thomas Quasthoff's recital focuses on the least well-known area of Haydn's work.

As most listeners will have heard a tiny handful of his operas, there is plenty here to pique curiosity, including arias inserted by Hadyn into the Esterhazy performances of Bianchi's "Il disertore" and Salieri's "La scuola de' gelosi", and some sparkling orchestral playing. At his best in the easy tempo of 'Ombre sepolte', Quasthoff too often inclines to bluster, bluff and strain in the faster numbers.

Pick of the album: Quasthoff reveals a gentler voice in 'Ombre sepolte'