About the Soundtrack
"Evergreen - Music from the Films of Barbra Streisand"
She is one of the top performers of the second half of this century; one of the most recognizable figures in the entertainment community who has succeeded in riding the crest of success despite changing public taste; a woman whose talent extends beyond the field in which she originally trained, singing, to other areas, such as screenwriting, directing, composing and acting. Barbra Streisand achieved worldwide renown as a singer by bucking a trend at a time when pop music was fast being displaced by rock and roll; a genre she sometimes acknowledged but never adopted. In the same way that there only was one Mae West or one Judy Garland, in the pantheon of great entertainers there is only one Barbra.
She was born Barbara Joan Streisand in Brooklyn, New York on April 24, 1942. Retaining many of the characteristics from her modest origins proved to be tremendous assets on her spectacular and swift rise to success. She began performing in amateur competitions in the early '60s, eventually winning a singing contest which led to nightclub engagements and a contract with Columbia Records. Her debut album, The Barbra Streisand Album, released in 1963 and a Grammy� Award winner that year, became a gold record and established her as a premiere vocalist. In quick succession, between 1963 and 1966, she produced seven more albums, all Top Ten releases, including the triple platinum My Name Is Barbra Two, cementing her popularity as a bright new star in the pop music firmament.
A born actress with superb comedic flair and timing, she first appeared on Broadway in 1962 in Harold Rome's I Can Get It For You Wholesale, in which she stopped the show with her humorous rendition of "Miss Marmelstein," the story of a harassed secretary. But it was Jule Styne and Bob Merrill's smash 1964 musical Funny Girl and its #1 hit song, "People," that first signaled that a superstar had arrived. Though it marked the last time Barbra appeared in a Broadway musical, the show and its brilliant 1968 screen transfer (for which she won an Academy� Award) made her a household name and one of the top entertainers in America.
This initial success was followed with a one-woman television show, My Name Is Barbra, the first of five specials that still rank amongst the highest rated variety productions in the history of the medium. From that point on, Barbra has never stopped, sharing her time between recording albums (more than fifty at last count) and appearing in dozens of films, both musical comedies and dramas, in which her talent and presence have consistently proved powerful box office assets.
Identifying the highlights in this impressive career would be a daunting task, even for the most avid fan, but one would have to include Hello, Dolly! among her most celebrated screen appearances. In this 1968 feature, Barbra portrayed the indomitable title character and shared screen time with that other musical legend, Louis Armstrong. In The Way We Were, a huge box office hit of 1973, she played a young Jewish political activist to Robert Redford's WASPish writer. In the 1976 remake of A Star Is Born she appeared as a rising singing star to Kris Kristofferson's waning rock mentor, and it was for this film she co-wrote the #1 hit song, "Evergreen." Yentl marked Barbra's 1983 debut as director, producer and co-writer, and in which she portrayed a Yeshiva girl who disguises herself as a boy to better learn the sacred texts. In 1987's Nuts, she played a prostitute trying to prove her sanity when she is wrongly accused of manslaughter; an unusual dramatic portrayal that earned her greater respect from many critics and fans. The Prince Of Tides, which in 1991 Barbra also produced and directed, she starred as a psychiatrist who becomes involved with one of her patients, played by Nick Nolte. Most recently in The Mirror Has Two Faces, another superlative drama which she produced and directed, Barbra appeared with Jeff Bridges as her romantic lead and, in a much-lauded role, Lauren Bacall.
Barbra has often worked directly with the composers who scored these films,
giving them a firm direction and suggesting a style that reflected the specific atmosphere she wanted to convey. Among the respected artisans whose works were featured in her films, it bears noting that Marvin Hamlisch scored both The Way We Were and The Mirror Has Two Faces, Michel Legrand composed the original music for Yentl and James Newton Howard provided the score to The Prince Of Tides. Each one of these scores was either nominated or won an Acadmy� Award.
This symphonic portrait of the legend that is Barbra Streisand incorporates themes from all these films and many others, in spirited renditions that evoke the movies for which they were written and the star that inspired them.
Didier C. Deutsch