I've loved everything Barbra has done over the years and been eagerly looking forward to the arrival of this latest offer.
No problem with Barbra, the tunes or the music, so why didn't it hit the heartstrings when I began to listen.
I had to read the comprehensive booklet to surmise what might affecting me.
It appears that Barbra recorded the album with Diana Krall's group and then John Mandel's orchestral score was recorded and 'dropped in' to the quartet tracks.
I'm sure that the process was done as well as it possibly could have been but somehow there is just something missing. To me there is an incredibly subtile timing issue and the string tracks just don't fit. They sound great, it all sounds great but Streisand's ability to interact with the orchestra while she is singing has gone and while it sounds fine, it just doesn't get the 'feet tapping' so as to speak. The recent DVD of Barbra recording 'The Broadway Album'shows how important her interaction with the strings really is.
It sounds like the strings were written to fit into the spaces and, as such, fall a little flat on listening while tying Mandel's hands behind his back and not allowing him to be as creative as he might otherwise have been.
Big shame because Mandel rates as one of my favourite arrangers (as does Alan Broadbent).
Still there's no way I want my money back and I'm looking forward to her next offering, perhaps with arrangements by the amazing Jeremy Lubbock and Barbra singing with the orchestra.
In the meantime buy the double CD presentation of this recording, which for a few pounds more gives a CD with Barbra singing just with the Krall group and that works, really, quite well in an unusual setting for Ms Streisand.