Of the reissue, Ms. Streisand says, "I have always had a special affection for Classical Barbra. I loved the process of developing and making the recording, and I was gratified by the success it had when it was originally released and, what a thrill it was to receive a Grammy nomination in the Classical division...Now it is back in a new expanded edition, beautifully remastered and sounding better than it has since the LP release. I'm also pleased that we could include two bonus tracks that have never before been available. They remind me again how rewarding this whole project was."
Fifteen-time Grammy-winning producer Steven Epstein has remastered the original recording for this new release, the first reissue of the now-classic album since it became available on CD a quarter of a century ago. In addition to the original 10 songs, it now includes two previously unreleased bonus tracks recorded during the original sessions. Both new tracks are two songs composed by Franz Schubert – "An Sylvia" and "Auf dem wasser zu singen" – which offer the unique opportunity to hear Streisand's amazing voice with a piano as its only accompaniment.
Comprised of art songs and arias by a range of European composers, from George Frideric Handel and Robert Schumann to Claude Debussy and Gabriel Faure , Classical Barbra rose to No. 46 on the Billboard Top 200 chart in 1976 and is certified gold in the U.S. Accompanied by the Columbia Symphony Orchestra conducted by Claus Ogerman, Streisand sings in English, French, German, Italian, Latin, and (in Joseph Canteloube's "Brezairola") in a European provincial dialect called Occitan. Other gems include Faure's Pavane, songs that include Debussy's " Beau Soir " and Robert Schumann 's "Mondnacht," as well as the arias "Lascia ch'io pianga" from Handel's opera Rinaldo, and "In Trutina" from Carl Orff 's Carmina Burana .
In the original liner notes Leonard Bernstein wrote, "Barbra Streisand's natural ability to make music takes her over to the classical field with extraordinary ease. It's clear that she loves these songs. In her sensitive, straightforward and enormously appealing performance, she has given us a very special musical experience."
More recently, New York Times classical music critic Anthony Tommasini said of Streisand that "her ability to shape a phrase with velvety legato and find the right expressive coloring for each note and each word is the epitome of cultured vocalism."