Barbara Streisand and Other Musical Instruments

Roger Bissell

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Barbara Streisand and Other Musical Instruments

Reviewed by Roger E. Bissell

I first heard this recording in 1973 when Columbia Records made available on LP the sound track to Barbara Streisand’s television special of the same name, which aired on CBS in the fall of 1972. It was her first television special in five years, and it was well worth the wait. What an array of musical styles, instruments, and moods!

The styles – folk, rock, gospel, lieder, comedy, classical, electronic, and marching music. Something for nearly every taste.

The instruments—too numerous to mention individually here (there are more than 150 of them), though there is a full list on the back of the album cover. The basic groups of instruments give a partial indication of what you’ll hear: symphony orchestra, Turkish-Armenian, American Indian, African, East Indian, Japanese, Irish, Spanish, electronics, and household appliances (!).

The moods—mystery, triumph, eerie loneliness, tongue-in-cheek humor and much more. Purists may rebel at the household gadgets used in the Concerto for Voice and Appliances (“The World is a Concerto”), or at the conglomeration of various styles in “I Got Rhythm,” or at the ultra-modern electronic background in “By Myself,” but they convey the moods intended very effectively, indeed.

With this recording, as often was the case in her early years, Barbara Streisand outdid herself with a thoroughly enjoyable display of singing, acting, and comedic ability. It is a worthy addition to the record library of every pop music lover. For Streisand fans, it is a must. And thank the gods, it is available again, after all these years, as a CD recording.

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Roger-I can understand your passion, but if I were suffering from Cirrhosis, and Streisand was selling two-for-one livers she would not get a dime of my money. I rank her right up there with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I do always enjoy reading your passion for music though.

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