Babs is back.
For the record, this time it’s the Sony Masterworks CD release of her 1976 crossover recording Classical Barbra. Though best-known as one of the preeminent pop singers of our time, Babs made a powerful statement in the classical music realm when she recorded Classical Barbra in 1973. When it was released three years later, the album gained Streisand a raft of admirers in the classical music world; Glenn Gould called her voice "one of the natural wonders of the age, an instrument of infinite diversity and timbral resource.”
Comprised of art songs and arias by a range of European composers, from George Frideric Handel and Robert Schumann to Claude Debussy and Gabriel Fauré, Classical Barbra rose to No. 46 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. Accompanied by the Columbia Symphony Orchestra conducted by Claus Ogerman, Streisand sings in English, French, German, Italian, Latin and (in Joseph Canteloube's "Brezairola") in a European provincial dialect called Occitan. Other gems include Fauré's Pavane, songs that include Debussy's "Beau Soir" and Robert Schumann's "Mondnacht," as well as the arias "Lascia ch'io pianga" from Händel's opera Rinaldo, and "In Trutina" from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.
“I have always had a special affection for Classical Barbra,” says Babs. “I loved the process of developing and making the recording and I was gratified by the success it had when it was originally released. Ahat a thrill it was to receive a Grammy nomination in the Classical division. Now it is back in a new expanded edition, beautifully remastered and sounding better than it has since the LP release. I’m also pleased that we could include two bonus tracks that have never before been available. They remind me again how rewarding this whole project was."
Both bonus tracks are songs composed by Franz Schubert–“An Sylvia” and “Auf dem wasser zu singen”–which offer the unique opportunity to hear Babs’ amazing voice with a piano as its only accompaniment.
Indeed, she remains a class(ical) act.
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