Classical Barbra

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Classical Barbra
Studio album by Barbra Streisand
Released February 1976
Length 30:08
Label CBS Masterworks original Columbia reissue
Producer Claus Ogerman
Barbra Streisand chronology
Lazy Afternoon
Classical Barbra
A Star Is Born
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars [1]
Rolling StoneMixed[2]
The Independent3/5 stars[3]
The Second DiscFavorable [4]

Classical Barbra [5] is a studio album by Barbra Streisand, released in February 1976 but recorded in 1973. The album consists of songs by classical European composers and includes tracks sung in English, French, Occitan, German, Italian and Latin. The music is performed by the Columbia Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Claus Ogerman. Leonard Bernstein wrote of the album, "Barbra Streisand's natural ability to make music takes her over to the classical field with extraordinary ease. It's clear that she loves these songs. In her sensitive, straightforward, and enormously appealing performance, she has given us a very special musical experience." The album has been certified Gold in the United States for sales of 500,000 on May 5, 1999.[6] In 2013 the album was remastered and 2 bonus tracks were added.[7]


Barbra Streisand: The Music, the Woman, The Myth author Shaun Considine claimed that it took six months of secret editing to cut the album together.[8]

Francesco Scavullo was paid $75,000 to take the photograph that adorns the cover of the Classical Barbra album.[9]

This album saw Streisand be awarded her 40th gold album.[10]

Upon its rerelease, Streisand said: ""I have always had a special affection for Classical Barbra. I loved the process of developing and making the recording, and I was gratified by the success it had when it was originally released".[11]

Critical reception[edit]

The Washington Post explained that the album was "widely panned" upon its release, though notably it was defended by Glenn Gould.[12]

All Music gave the album a retrospective rating of 3 out of 5 stars, describing it as one of Streisand's "more esoteric projects" and a surprise to her fans.[13] The Independent said that when the album was first released, it was a " rare and risky gambit".[14] The Second Disk explained that the singer's "clarion voice and dramatic interpretive skills" ensured the album's timelessness.[15] The New York Times said that the album was a "rare instance of [Streisand] being too deferential to the originals".[16] The Baltimore Sun deemed it her "most daring album".[17] The Tuscaloosa News compared Streisand's underwhelming performance of classical music to that of Florence Foster Jenkins.[18] The Daily Gazette described it as an "ill-fated...proto-crossover album".[19] Philippine Daily Inquirer said it was an "escoteric but laudable project",[20] and one of the moments Streisand challenged herself with musical risks in her youth.[21] The Village Voice compared its "" to that of Jane Oliver's performance of Donovan's Lalena.[22] Beaver County TImes deemed it a "pleasant surprise".[23] Sarasota Herald Times said the album saw her "belting out arias".[24] A Singer's Notebook thought Streisand's vocals sounded "repressed".[25] Scotland on Sunday, in an article about the inappropriateness and limitations of many crossover albums, described Streisand's effort as a " decidedly dangerous liaison".[26]

Classical pianist Glenn Gould wrote: "For me, the Streisand voice is one of the natural wonders of the age, an instrument of infinite diversity and timbral resource...Nothing in this album is insensitive or unmusical".[27]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Beau Soir" (Claude Debussy) – 2:42
  2. "Brezairola - Berceuse" from 'Songs of the Auvergne' (Joseph Canteloube) – 3:47
  3. "Verschwiegene Liebe" (Hugo Wolf) – 2:57
  4. "Pavane (Vocalise)" (Gabriel Fauré) – 5:29
  5. "Après un rêve" (Gabriel Fauré) – 3:24
  6. "In trutina" from 'Carmina Burana' (Carl Orff) – 2:11
  7. "Lascia ch'io pianga" from 'Rinaldo' (George Frideric Handel) – 3:37
  8. "Mondnacht" (Robert Schumann) – 3:56
  9. "Dank sei Dir, Herr" (Unconfirmed composer; Handel or Siegfried Ochs) – 3:42
  10. "I Loved You" (Claus Ogerman) – 2:18

2013 Remaster Bonus Tracks

  1. "An Sylvia, D.891" (Franz Schubert) – 2:50
  2. "Auf dem Wasser zu singen, D.774" (Franz Schubert) – 3:14


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1976) Peak
Canada (RPM)[28] 87
US Billboard 200[29] 46

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[30] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Classical Barbra at AllMusic
  2. ^ John Rockwell (June 3, 1973). "Rolling Stone Review-Classical Barbra". Archived from the original on September 7, 2008. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  3. ^ Andy Gill (1 February 2013). "Album review: Barbra Streisand, Classical Barbra (Sony Masterworks)". The Independent (U.K.). Retrieved March 14, 2013.
  4. ^ "Review: Barbra Streisand, "Classical Barbra: Expanded Edition"". The Second Disc. 1 February 2013. Retrieved March 14, 2013.
  5. ^ "Classical Barbra". Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  6. ^ "RIAA: Classical Barbra -Gold Certification". Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  7. ^ "Classical Barbra Remaster 2013". Barbra-Archives. Retrieved January 27, 2013.
  8. ^ "The Victoria Advocate - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  9. ^ "Spokane Chronicle - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  10. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (1999-06-12). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.
  11. ^ "Sony Masterworks to Reissue Barbara Streisand CD". 2013-01-31.
  12. ^ "Crossing Over, Looking Back, Tripping Up (Corrected 11/19/02)". 2002-11-10.
  13. ^ "Classical Barbra - Barbra Streisand | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  14. ^ "Album review: Barbra Streisand, Classical Barbra (Sony Masterworks)". 2013-02-01. Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  15. ^ "Review: Barbra Streisand, "Classical Barbra: Expanded Edition"". The Second Disc. 2013-02-13. Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  16. ^ Tommasini, Anthony (2009-09-24). "Barbra Streisand: A Fine Instrument, a Classic Instinct". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  17. ^ Sun, Baltimore. "A fan looks back on 50 years of loving Barbra Streisand". Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  18. ^ "The Tuscaloosa News - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  19. ^ "The Daily Gazette - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  20. ^ "Philippine Daily Inquirer - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  21. ^ "Philippine Daily Inquirer - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  22. ^ "The Village Voice - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  23. ^ "Beaver County Times - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  24. ^ "Sarasota Herald-Tribune - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  25. ^ Bostridge, Ian (2011-09-22). A Singer's Notebook. Faber & Faber. ISBN 9780571254675.
  26. ^ "A perfect executioner". 1999-12-05.
  27. ^ "Barbra Streisand". 2008-12-05.
  28. ^ Top Albums/CDs - Volume 25, No. 3 April 17, 1976 at the Wayback Machine (archived March 10, 2016). RPM
  29. ^ "Barbra Streisand Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  30. ^ "American album certifications – Barbra Streisand – Classical Barbra". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

Further reading[edit]