Classical Barbra (1976)

Catalog Number(s):

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Classical LP cover

Lyric insert for CLASSICAL BARBRA

Album scans by Kevin Schlenker ... Above: the LP's lyric sleeve


1. Beau Soir [2:37]

(Beautiful Evening) by Claude Debussy (1962-1918)

Words by Paul Bourget / Sung in French

Arrangement: C. Ogerman

2. Brezairola (from Songs of the Auvergne) [3:44]

Berceuse from Songs of the Auvergne (Lullaby)

By Joseph Canteloube (1979-1957) (Sung in French Provincial Dialect)

3. Verschwiegene Liebe [2:55]

(Silent Love) by Hugo Wolf (1869-1903)

Words by Joseph von Eichendorff / Sung in German

Accompanied by Claus Ogerman

4. Pavane (Vocalise) [5:29]

by Gabriel Fauré

Arrangement: C. Ogerman

5. Après un Rêve [3:22]

(After a Dream) by Gabriel Fauré

Words by Romain Bussine / Sung in French

Arrangement: C. Ogerman

6. In Trutina [2:08]

(In the Balance from Carmina Burana)

by Carl Orff (Born 1895) / Sung in Latin

7. Lascia ch'io pianga (from Rinaldo) [3:38]

by George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) / Sung in Italian

Arrangement: C. Ogerman

8. Mondnacht [3:55]

(Moon Night) by Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

Words by Joseph von Eichendorff / Sung in German

Accompanied by Claus Ogerman

9. Dank sei Dir, Herr [3:42]

(Thanks be to Thee, O Lord) by George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

Words anonymous / Sung in German

Arrangement: C. Ogerman

10. I Loved You * [2:16]

by Claus Ogerman (born 1930)

Based on a poem by Alexander Pushkin / Sung in English


BONUS TRACKS [2013 Remaster]:

* Homer Dennison's notes:Here is a modern song written specifically for Barbra by Claus Ogerman. The words are a translation based on a Russian poem by Alexander Pushkin, and the fine combination of brightness and melancholy in the music catches the gist of the poem: Love lost can actually be redeemed through hope that the beloved may find fulfillment in another's love of equal intensity to that of the poet's. It should be noted that this is the only song in the collection that is sung in English.

Follow The Lieder (or About “Classical Barbra”)

Ogerman and Streisand

2013 Remaster:

“I love classical music, and classical lieder, especially the songs of Shubert and Schumann. I keep thinking I'd like to do an album of lieder myself and call it Follow The Lieder. It's a great title. I've discovered that if you can get a good title, the album just follows naturally along,” Streisand told a journalist in 1972 as her movie, Up the Sandbox was opening in theaters.

Record producer Wally Gold (What About Today?) recalled that “Barbra was always stretching, wanting to do different things, and when she mentioned the desire to do an album of lieder, I encouraged her. I introduced her to Claus Ogerman, who did the arrangements.”

Claus Ogerman and Streisand worked together in Las Vegas— Ogerman conducted the orchestra for Barbra at the Riviera Hotel in 1970.

Classical Barbra came to fruition in 1973 when Streisand layed down tracks for several classical songs at TTG Studios and RCA Recording Studios in Hollywood.

Ogerman said he regretted that he missed pianist Glenn Gould’s request to play on his arrangements for Classical Barbra. Gould, in a 1977 radio broadcast, described Ogerman as “the producer, arranger, conductor, pianist and coach for the album Classical Barbra.”

Ogerman and Streisand

Glenn Gould even wrote a glowing review of the album in a 1976 issue of High Fidelity magazine in which he compared Streisand to Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, a classical soprano. “In the case of Barbra Streisand,” Gould said, “the article was really just a declaration of my inordinate fondness for her music making, and it was tied into a review of the Classical Barbra album. I think I was the only person who reviewed it favorably. I adore everything she does. Well, almost everything—there are a few albums where she attempted a sort of pseudo-rock chic which I found offensive … But Streisand is extraordinary. I don’t know of any other singer, with the exception of Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, who has impressed me as much.”

The only original song for the Classical Barbra album was “I Loved You.” Composed by Claus Ogerman, its lyrics came from a poem by Alexander Pushkin.

Streisand looks at Classical Barbra album proofs

(Photo, above): Streisand, rehearsing for her film, A Star is Born, in 1976, approves the cover art for Classical Barbra, recorded in 1973.

Streisand recalled her work on the album: “Musically, I’ve felt compelled to try everything. The most difficult singing project was my classical album, because classical singing is such a disciplined art form. As in rock, the rhythms are very specific. I wanted to write ‘This is a work in progress’ on the back of Classical Barbra, but my record company asked me not to. But even though I’m not satisfied with it, I’m still happy I made it.”

Classical pieces which Barbra recorded that did not end up on the final album were “An Sylvia (To Sylvia)” by Franz Schubert and “Auf dem Wasser zu Singen”—also by Schubert and also sung by Streisand (in comedic fashion) on her television show, Barbra Streisand and Other Musical Instruments. The recording she made in the 1973 sessions with Ogerman, incidentally, was “serious”.

Classical ad

Chronologically, Classical Barbra was recorded in 1973—even though it was not released to the public until February 1976. When it was finally released, a gorgeous photo of Streisand by Francesco Scavullo graced its cover. The generous liner notes by Homer Dennison praised Streisand: “For her millions of fans, what Barbra has done here will come as a surprise and revelation. Without the slightest sacrifice of her own originality, she brings to these songs a flavor that is hers alone … Barbra has been wanting to sing classical songs for a long time, and in choosing Claus Ogerman to work with she shows once again her unfailing ability to do things the right way. In conducting, arranging and accompanying her, Claus provides the musicianship that completely meets the exacting demands of this very special project.”

Claus Ogerman, who also arranged “Didn’t We” and some of the songs on Stoney End for Streisand, went on to write a few film scores and to concentrate on classical music. Singer Diana Krall lured Ogerman out of pop music retirement to do the arrangements on her 2001 album, The Look of Love.

Another Classical Barbra ad

Billboard Charts

The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine.

Here's the numbers for this Streisand album:

Gold: 500,000 units shipped

Note: The record company must submit an album to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) where it undergoes a certification process to become eligible for an award. The process entails an independent sales audit, which calculates the quantity of singles or albums shipped for sale, net after returns. The audit surveys shipments to the entire music marketplace, including retail, record clubs, television sales, Internet orders and other ancillary markets. Based on the certification of these shipments, a title is awarded Gold, Platinum, Multi-Platinum or Diamond status. The data here comes directly from official sources, mainly the RIAA online database.

Grammy Nominations

CD Packaging Notes

The first issue of Classical Barbra on CD did not have the blue and yellow logo across the cover (see left).

Some time after the original release of the Classical Barbra CD (which was in 1990), Columbia redesiged the cover by adding a blue and gold "CBS Records Masterworks" logo across the album's cover (see below), which also repositioned the spacing of the title.

The LP's lyrics and liner notes by Homer Dennison (which were originally printed on the album sleeve) were reprinted for the CD booklet.

The 2013 remaster has restored the gorgeous album cover.

Classical Barbra cd

(Below: The 2013 remastered CD front and back cover)

Remastered CD cover

Back cover of 2013 Classical Barbra CD

Scavullo Outtakes

Legendary photographer Francesco Scavullo shot the photographs which grace the cover and back cover of Classical Barbra. They originally appeared in a 1975 issue of Vogue magazine.

Scavullo and Streisand worked well together and he produced iconic photographs for A Star is Born, as well as Barbra's other films The Main Event and Prince of Tides.

His alternate shots for Classical Barbra are all beautiful.


Another Classical outtake

Streisand with guitar

(Below: This outtake appeared in the 2013 Remastered CD tray)

Hat outtake


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