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Back to Broadway

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Album Review

While still an impressive recording, Back to Broadway is less impressive than its predecessor, The Broadway Album, for a number of reasons. The first is material. Barbra Streisand seems to be attracted to certain musicals, and here she chooses more songs from shows like West Side Story and Guys and Dolls that she didn't pick the last time around. Still attracted more to current composers than earlier ones, Streisand picks five songs by Stephen Sondheim (who has once again obligingly rewritten lyrics to suit her) and three by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The Sondheim material is worthy; the Lloyd Webber is not. (Though the intensity with which she sings "With One Look" from Sunset Boulevard suggests an eerie identification with the show's demented silent movie queen Norma Desmond.) Further, Streisand has done duets on two selections with people better identified with the material — Michael Crawford, the original Phantom in Phantom of the Opera, on his signature song, "The Music of the Night," and Johnny Mathis, who has sung a medley of West Side Story songs in his shows for years, on a medley of "I Have a Love/One Hand, One Heart" from that show. Finally, the arrangements and production lean more toward contemporary pop and light jazz in many instances, the influence of commercial producers and arrangers like David Foster. All of which means that Back to Broadway is somewhat uneven. When Streisand takes on songs as well suited to her as "Everybody Says Don't" (from Sondheim's Anyone Can Whistle) and "Children Will Listen" (from his Into the Woods), she nears her work on The Broadway Album. Elsewhere, she is merely a phenomenal singer working against material or arrangements that aren't quite appropriate to her.

Customer Reviews

My favorite album from her

This and "Guilty Pleasures" are some of my favorite Barbra Streisand albums. She has a great voice and it suits her best with Broadway songs. I recognized a few of these like "Everybody Says Don't" and "Music Of The Night" but some of the others I don't remember. I ended up liking all the songs and I think it just a great album, one of her best. If you like Barbra Streisand and Musicals you'll like this album. It's worth the money!

Pure Gold

This album far surpasses Streisand's first Broadway cd, although the two together makes a powerful musical statement. The musical arrangement for this album is stunning, and the duets with Mathis and Crawford are beautiful. Not a second of this album feels as if Streisand is faking her emotions, and not a moment is to be missed. From the beautiful story telling in Sondheim's classic, "Everybody Says Don't", and the uncovered arrangement of "Children Will Listen", followed by Bernstein and Sondheim's West Side Story's "I Have a Love/One Hand, One Heart" this album creates stunning moments. Truly worth the buy.

Love This!!

This cd debuted at #1, not bad for a so-so- disc (according to the opening review of this cd) and contains some of Barbra's finest moments. "The Music Of The Night" is a duet with Michael Crawford, whom Barbra worked with in the film "Hello Dolly" and according to a lot of critics the duet was a bit clumsy due to their Broadway vocal styles but I felt it was a great compliment to both singers and the arrangement shows the respect each had for the other. "As If We Never Said Goodbye" confirms my belief that Barbra would have been perfect as Nora Desmond in the musical version of "Sunset Boulevard." "Speak Low" is a jazzy song not normally associated with Barbra, on the other side of the musical pond Diane Schuur was just releasing her cd "Love Songs" produced by Tom Scott and she recorded a version of "Speak Low" as well and the arrangements are somewhat similar actually, Barbra scored a hit with her version. "Children Will Listen" was performed live and on television for the Democratic National Convention and Barbra brought down the house with her tender reading. "I Have A Love" is a duet with Johnny Mathis, this duet will be released on his upcoming boxed set "A Personal Collection." Johnny's voice sounds a bit fragile here but he's always sounded that way, he sings much better in a lower register and why he refuses to accept that he is not a Tenor I is beyond my comprehension. Barbra treats us with a glorious interpretation of Gershwin's "The Man I Love," this obligatory inclusion of a standard is reminiscent of her lp's of the 60's. Overall this is a terrific cd.

Biography

Born: April 24, 1942 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Vocal

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Barbra Streisand's status as one of the most successful singers of her generation was remarkable not only because her popularity was achieved in the face of a dominant musical trend -- rock & roll -- which she did not follow, but also because she used her vocal skills as a mere stepping stone to other careers, as a stage and film actress and as a film director. Born in 1942 and raised in Brooklyn, New York, she struggled briefly as an actress and nightclub singer in New York during the early '60s...
Full Bio