The Joy of Driving and Music

Since I got my Ford Focus SE after graduation, I have been finding all sorts of excuses to drive it all over the town I live in. Tomorrow, I’m going to Nashville to do some tech consulting for a medical corp. I work part-time for. I just really enjoy driving my car. It fits me and I like the way it feels on the road. When I used to drive my ’92 Jeep Cherokee, I was so afraid the vehicle would fall apart, or worse, not be able to make it on or off the interstate. These days, I’m content in the knowledge that my car can play CDs, my iPod, and even has airbags. My jeep didn’t have airbags at all. I guess its the little things we take for granted, but I am quite thankful and grateful that I have a new car to drive around in. Speaking of driving, apparently the Washington Post did a guide of the 10 worst cities for drivers. I’m glad I have audiobooks and music on my iPod to keep me company during traffic snarls. 

Last night, I attempted to post a review of the 2013 remaster of Barbra Streisand’s 1976 album, Classical Barbra. Unfortunately, WordPress had other ideas and decided not to allow me to post it. So without further ado here is my review: 

Due out  tomorrow, is the 2013 remaster of Barbra Streisand’s 1976 album Classical Barbra from Masterworks, the classical/broadway arm of Sony Music Entertainment. While managing to go GOLD in 1999, Barbra’s foray into Classical music is to some an enlightening experience, while others have been seemingly mislead by the album title. I read the review of one lady on Amazon.com who posted, “Listened to this one probably once, I guess I just like pop music, because this stuff really strained my patience!” Classical music isn’t meant to enjoyed by the impatient. No. Classical music is meant to be enjoyed with a glass of wine, and thats exactly how I intended to treat this new remaster of an already classic recording. However, I was dismayed when I heard very audible hiss emit from my speakers, as the opening bars of Debussy’s “Beau Soir” met ears. I’m stunned at the album’s reissue producer, David Foil. The original album recorded during in 1973 with The Columbia Symphony Orchestra with arrangements and conducting by Claus Ogerman, is a lovely adventure into the realm of classical music by Streisand.  Tracks such as “Beau Soir,” “Apres Un Reve” and “In trutina” from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana are favorite tracks of mine. Since I have both the Lp and original compact disc edition of album, I was excited about the prospect of a new remastered album. Apparently, Barbra Streisand’s renewed contract with Columbia Records includes at least two or three remastered albums in addition to new projects. However, I figured that with a remaster of a now 40 year old recording would be complete with cleaned audio tracks, yet it all sounds like a regular, every day, run-of-the-mill, tape to compact disc transfer complete with very audible hiss. I mean very audible hiss. 

I thought with all the advancements we have in technology, a 40-year-old recording should be able to sound terrific. Right? Regardless of how it sounds, I personally love the recording, and applaud Streisand for her confidence in tackling such material. I find it funny that a sometimes artists who cross into different genres fall hard on their faces. For example when Renee Fleming released Dark Hope produced by David Kahne I was really quite excited and intrigued by the list of songs on the album; however, the album falls flat. Fleming’s voice is held back and kept in her lower register, while the arrangements are tepid and unremarkable. I enjoy the fact that Barbra’s classical debut is a straight, no frills album. It’s just Barbra and the music. Pity about the sound though..

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