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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love is "definatly" the answer!
I'm sure every Streisand fan is purchasing this today...and rightly so! Absolutly fantastic! Well worth the wait since Streisand's last studio album (2005 Guilty Too). A fine masterpiece produced by the jazz legend ,Diana Krall.
If your looking for Streisand up-tempo/pop tracks you won't find it here. What you will find though are, relaxed, chilled jazz standards at...
Published on 28 Sept. 2009 by Mr. A. Rigg

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The "Wrong Half" of the Deluxe Edition
Streisand recorded these songs with quartet and then the orchestral arrangements were added on top. Purchasers of the regular ediition get the version washed with strings; purchasers of the deluxe edition get both that and the original recordings.

Unfortunately, the wrong choice was made.

These are not particularly "diva-ish" performances from...
Published on 15 Oct. 2009 by Sordel


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love is "definatly" the answer!, 28 Sept. 2009
By 
Mr. A. Rigg (Bristol) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Love Is The Answer (Audio CD)
I'm sure every Streisand fan is purchasing this today...and rightly so! Absolutly fantastic! Well worth the wait since Streisand's last studio album (2005 Guilty Too). A fine masterpiece produced by the jazz legend ,Diana Krall.
If your looking for Streisand up-tempo/pop tracks you won't find it here. What you will find though are, relaxed, chilled jazz standards at their very best. Curl up, bottle of wine and...Love is the Answer. The deluxe edition is well worth purchasing for a disc 2 of quartet versions of the songs with Barbra. It's almost like going back in time to when Streisands career was starting out! Just like the original material she was recording. No disapointments here. This one won't be leaving the cd player for a long time.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The "Wrong Half" of the Deluxe Edition, 15 Oct. 2009
By 
Sordel (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Love Is The Answer (Audio CD)
Streisand recorded these songs with quartet and then the orchestral arrangements were added on top. Purchasers of the regular ediition get the version washed with strings; purchasers of the deluxe edition get both that and the original recordings.

Unfortunately, the wrong choice was made.

These are not particularly "diva-ish" performances from Streisand ... clearly the reduced instrumentation at the original recording sessions encouraged her to rein in her trademark soaring vibrato, and the album is much the better for it. Unfortunately, the addition of strings everywhere transforms the result into something rather insipid and dull. It's as though Mantovani got hold of an easy-listening album by someone else and decided that it could be even more sleepy.

The only exception is "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes", which is pretty over-the-top in both versions.

The quartet version is much better and will add roughly two stars to my rating, since the vocal performances here are good enough to stack up favourably against many highly-regarded singers of jazz standards. Hearing every breath in her vocal delivery is far preferable to hearing a large number of violinists sustaining a chord.

This is a good album if you buy the deluxe album ... a pretty ordinary one if you buy this version.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STREISAND'S UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL COLLECTION IS A WINNER!, 27 Sept. 2009
By 
A. POLLOCK (PLYMOUTH, DEVON United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Love Is The Answer (Audio CD)
Barbra's latest release is a revelatory change of pace for the diva who adopts an up close and personal approach to some lovely ballads, with experience and maturity ensuring this album equals or possibly surpasses her earlier efforts on which she explored the Great American Songbook before soaring upwards and onwards to claim a more pop-related reputation by combining strident vocal power with emotional overkill in order to clinch her claim to creative longevity and continued success.

LOVE IS THE ANSWER is better appreciated via this two-disc Deluxe Version as it parallels identical songs on two separate discs, with the main CD featuring the lush string-filled orchestral accompaniment of arranger/conductor Johnny Mandel, whilst the other pares its quieter ambience to the intimate jazz setting of Diana Krall's piano skills and musicians (guitar, bass, drums). Being the album's producer, Krall knows a thing or two about low-key vocal intensity as her "less is more" method follows in the footsteps of Peggy Lee and Shirley Horn so I imagine, considering the reputation of those two great ladies of song, it did not take too much persuasion for Barbra to see the wisdom of such an approach.
Of the superb song choices, HERE'S TO LIFE and Mandel's co-written A TIME FOR LOVE and HOW DO YOU START? were amongst the inspiring offerings of Horn's 1992 album which shares another common link with Barbra's latest by having Mandel on board as sympathetic arranger. With such riches it's difficult to pick other favourites but MAKE SOMEONE HAPPY (from the score of DO RE MI by Comden & Green/Jule Styne - the latter wrote the score of FUNNY GIRL with Bob Merrill) gives sublime advice to those in love, with Barbra coaxing emotion from the sugary lyrics; HERE'S THAT RAINY DAY carries so much emotional gravitas with its wonderful Shearing-styled interlude to ponder, whilst Luiz Bonfa's sensitive GENTLE RAIN (once recorded by Krall) retains its tender bossa-nova rhythms. IF YOU GO AWAY (NE ME QUITTE PAS) is not only a nod towards Jacques Brel's poetic genius but a reminder of Barbra's early career preference for French songs and lyrics. Retaining the Gallic theme, YOU MUST BELIEVE IN SPRING (from the 1967 movie, LES DEMOISELLES DE ROCHFORT) comes in just one version with Krall's low-keyed piano backing allowing the diva to score points with the Michel Legrand/Jacques Demy ballad usually associated with Bill Evans and Tony Bennett. I can even forgive Barbra's melody bending of SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES in order to grab emotional clarity at the gripping finale, especially as it works so well, and of course SOME OTHER TIME is one of the great farewell anthems and favourite of many cabaret songbirds with Barbra's final resigned "Oh well!" nailing this song as hers alone.

As a mood album of late-night meditations on love, heartbreak, resolve and acceptance, this collection hits its mark. As a Streisand album it rates high enough to just about outdo everything she has recorded over the past forty-seven years with the amazing revelation that with added nuance and depth her voice remains unimpaired by passing time. Her loyal fans will not be disappointed and it's very likely those who would never ever consider buying a Streisand album will be heading out for their copies in droves!
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sadly doesn't really work for me, 26 Sept. 2009
By 
A. Korsner "Adrian Korsner" (London England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Love Is The Answer (Audio CD)
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.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Voice Of Great Experience, 4 Oct. 2009
By 
The Wolf (uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Love Is The Answer (Audio CD)
That Ms Streisand is a phenomenon is inarguable.
Her appearance on Mr Ross's show on Friday evening
confirmed that she is both alive and kicking and in very
fine fettle for a woman who first drew beath in 1942.

Poise, grace, gravitas and impeccable focus still
shine out in a voice which has spread its radiant
wings across five decades. Extraordinary.

That things have just begun to get a little rough around
the edges is inevitable but she is consumately able
to turn minor shortcomings into dramatic advantages
with her ability to hold on hard to the emotion and meaning
of every song she sings. Ms Streisand invariably pins down
the heart and soul of every composition chosen for this new
release and brings each one to glorious life.

It's nice to have both an orchestral as well as a pared down
edition of the material with Ms Krall's wonderful quartet but
give me the latter to listen to every time.

There is a tension and danger in the brave exposure of
that voice in such a starkly economical context.
A single spotlight and nowhere to hide.

'If You Go Away (Ne Me Quitte Pas)' is surely one of the
most tender and beautiful renditions of this great song
ever captured in a recording. Heartwrending.

'Where Do You Start' is small miracle of restraint.
Never one breath or detail more than is necessary
to tell the story. Surely one of the most stunning
performances in her long career ? Sublime.

Bernstein's 'Some Other Time' winds up the collection
in whimsical and laconic style. A woman without regrets.

Ms Krall's production is unimpeachable.

This album is a truly precious thing.

Essential.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complete winner of an album, 2 Jan. 2010
By 
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This review is from: Love Is The Answer (Audio CD)
I was never a fan of Barbra Streisand, as I found much of her singing very overblown and pretentious. One day, I was listening to the radio, and I heard a fine version of Michel Legrand's beautiful "You Must Believe In Spring". I got a pen and paper and waited to note down the name of this new, exciting singer. It was the 66 year old Barbra Streisand.

So I swallowed my prejudice and plumped for the double CD. I don't know if the quartet versions are the same recordings as the orchestral arrangements with the orchestra stripped out, and, frankly, I don't care. They're both some of the most beautiful recordings of old favourite songs that I have heard in some time.

What there is on this album is a gentleness and tenderness that I imagine very few people could achieve. Not a duff note is sung, even where the voice inevitably shows a little roughness (and it is very little indeed). Particularly beautiful is the Bergman song "Where Do You Start?", revived by Tony Bennett on "The Art Of Romance" in 2004, and beautifully done here by Miss Streisand. Other songs have also been done before by Bennett, and are done just as beautifully here: "The Gentle Rain" and "A Time For Love", being two beautiful examples. "A Time For Love" may well be one of the most beautiful songs ever written, and this may well be the best version - not an easy feat.

Highly recommended, and may well turn me into a fan of this lady - something I never thought I would say. If you are a Streisand fan, I'm sure you'll love this anyway (and hate this review). But if you've ever been put off by her grandstanding, give this one a try. I don't think you'll regret it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Rain, Springtime, Love and Life, 9 July 2012
By 
Nicholas Casley (Plymouth, Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Love Is The Answer (Audio CD)
After a long hard day at work, it has been great to get home and chill out to Barbra singing of rain, of springtime, love and life. The relaxing style comprises jazz ballads and gentle bossa novas with superb subtle orchestrations (mostly by the brilliant Johnny Mandel). And that voice! Wow! Superb!

The production is by Diana Krall, whose name was unknown to me prior to purchasing this disc. Admittedly the clinging to just the one style can lead to the feeling that one songs merges into the next, but if Barbra soothes my furrowed brow that way, who am I to complain?

There are two songs that fail to impress. The first is the Jacques Brel classic `If You Go Away', which somehow remains unconvincing: I prefer Barbra's live version. I think the review in the Independent newspaper is right when it described the song as "impeccably delivered, but never approaching the kind of revelatory interpretation that might cause a sharp intake of breath among listeners."

The other duff track is the `bonus' song on my CD, `You Must Believe in Spring', which appears here without orchestration and thus loses something in its communication.

The disc comes with Barbra's usual generous sleevenotes.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5* for Barbra and her new CD, 30 Sept. 2009
This review is from: Love Is The Answer (Audio CD)
This is by far one of Barbra's highlights and a great album by her, perhaps the best since Back To Broadway. Her voice is timeless and the choice of songs proves just that. Check her website for live clips of the songs from New York. I urge you to make this purchase and enjoy this album as much as you can. This is one those albums that you can play from start to finish and savour every moment. This derserves to be #1!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars where is the passion?, 2 Nov. 2009
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This review is from: Love Is The Answer (Audio CD)
This is a safe album. I can't help feeling that Ms Streisand wasn't challenged by the vocal range that the songs on this album require, and i swear that i detect some strains in her voice. It lacks the passion of some of the songs on 'A Love Like Ours', my favourite recent album of hers, perhaps Ms Streisand has opted for safety rather than to challenge her deteriorating voice.

The arrangements are very pleasant, but the album isn't something you can play full blast during the daytime as you can with other of her albums; it is more a late night album you play quietly with the lights down and somebody romantic close to you.

The musical arrangements save this album. I think that Ms Streisand is now losing the tremendous vocal range she once had and that made me fall in love with the power in her voice. It's a shame because in the past, wow, what a voice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, 24 Nov. 2009
By 
Angela Ashton "Great Fan" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Love Is The Answer (Audio CD)
I think Barbra is the greatest female single in the world and have been eagerly awaiting her new album - what a disappointment. The album has no variety as all the songs sound the same. Dont get me wrong I love Barbra singing ballads but this was too much of a good thing, I nearly fell asleep listening to it. I have all her CDs and play them all the time and never tire of them but i was tired of the CD after I played it once and will not be playing it again. I am listening to the music from Yentl as I write this and enjoying every moment.
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