13. March 2013 · Comments Off on Crossover Albums, Two Directions · Categories: Ramble

I recently was sent a Barbra Steisand CD. Yes. Really. I agreed to get it, actually. As I always tell the people who offer me these, I only review if I feel like it and I never (okay … rarely!) do a negative review, so most likely things get mentioned only if I like ’em. I will admit I like Barbra Streisand now and again, and I’ve heard, from colleagues no less, that she is extremely critical during rehearsals … of herself, mind you! I like that.

But why would a company want to send me, a classical musician, a Barbra Streisand album? (I think I’ve covered the legality of it all by telling you I received this for free. It’s a rule that we do that, I believe.) Well, that’s easy. It’s her old recording that’s been reissued, and it’s called Classical Barbra. Sometimes she’s a bit “slurpy” on it (my way of saying sliding up or down rather than nailing a note), but that’s just so her, so I think she’s being true to what she is and does. Truth be told, I think this recording really does work. I’m impressed, too, with the variety. I also must say, though, that I can’t get past … well … it’s Barbra! I “see” her … I see her in her cat’s eye makeup (if that’s what you call it). I see her in “that” Academy Awards outfit from way back when. I see her in the movies I have seen (and I think I’ve seen most, if not all, of her movies. She is such a strong presence, and for some reason which is probably inexplicable and silly, really, I can’t get past that. I don’t even know how to explain it. So I find that a wee bit distracting. Weird, since of course there are plenty of classical musicians who have (or had) a strong presence. Some I’ve even worked with. (I can only think of one that I really can’t listen to because I see that performer in my mind’s eye as I listen and it’s so darn negative I can’t handle it!)

That being said, she can do crossover much better than most, I think. I will enjoy the CD.

But at the moment I’m listening to Simone Dinnerstein and Tift Merritt (no, I’d not heard of her) and the recording Night. You can too, if you just go here. In this one Simone moves one direction on a number of pieces and on one track Tift moves the classical direction. I really really like this recording! Honest. It just works for me. Maybe it’s because neither tries to be something they aren’t. Dinnerstein seems to be true to her playing, and Tift doesn’t sing Dido’s Lament as a classical singer.

So maybe with these confessions you think less of me.

But wait … is it even possible for you to think even less of me!? 😉

And hey, do you have any crossover recordings that really work for you? Do tell!

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