Christmas Memories

Christmas Memories

4.9 15
by Barbra Streisand
     
 
Christmas Memories is only the second holiday album recorded by Barbra Streisand during her distinguished and prolific career. Her first, 1967's classic A Christmas Album, is the multiplatinum standard against which all others are measured. This new collection, nearly as definitive as its predecessor, is a sumptuous potpourri of standards and

Overview

Christmas Memories is only the second holiday album recorded by Barbra Streisand during her distinguished and prolific career. Her first, 1967's classic A Christmas Album, is the multiplatinum standard against which all others are measured. This new collection, nearly as definitive as its predecessor, is a sumptuous potpourri of standards and surprises, all wrapped in shiny arrangements, like brightly reflecting ornaments on a lovingly decorated Christmas tree. Streisand's legendary voice, smoother than silk and more honey-glazed than ever, glows on "I'll Be Home for Christmas," "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?," Schubert's "Ave Maria," and "A Christmas Love Song." Sensitively self-produced, Memories debuts the future evergreens "Grown-up Christmas List" and Ann Hampton Callaway's "Christmas Lullaby" as well as "I Remember," which Stephen Sondheim rewrote for this recording. Forty years into a remarkable recorded legacy, and long after most stars have lost either the ability or the incentive, Streisand continues to strive for perfection with gorgeous vocals that are undiminished by time. Christmas Memories is yet another triumph for the Greatest Star.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Barbra Streisand makes a point of noting that she completed this, her second Christmas album, before the tragic events of September 11, 2001, even going so far as to list the recording dates (July 19-September 7, 2001). And listening to the disc, you can see why. If great artists sometimes demonstrate an uncanny ability to take the temperature of the times with their work, this one can be said to have anticipated the dramatic change in mood that the terrorist attacks occasioned. Christmas music always mixes the celebratory with the nostalgic, some of its classic songs dating from the World War II era when families were separated and feared they might not be reunited. But Streisand's Christmas Memories accentuates that tone well into melancholy. The 59-year-old singer has assembled a group of songs that look back on Christmases past from a mature perspective that very much takes loss into consideration, beginning with one of those war songs, "I'll Be Home for Christmas." On two occasions, she has prompted lyricists to rewrite their songs, having Dean Pitchford alter the words to "Closer," a new song submitted to her, to reflect the death of her friend Stephan Weiss (husband of fashion designer Donna Karan) and even getting the amazingly pliable Stephen Sondheim to revise "I Remember" from his 1966 TV musical Evening Primrose. As remade, "I Remember" remains an extremely sad song, however. When she isn't mourning, Streisand is trying for grand statements such as the politically oriented "Grown-Up Christmas List" and the ecumenical "One God," songs in keeping with Christmas's sentimentality that seem perfectly chosen for the inevitably sober-tinged holiday season of 2001. In coming years, Christmas Memories may come to seem like a remarkably dour holiday collection, but for the year of its release, it could hardly be improved upon.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/30/2001
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0696998592025
catalogNumber:
85920

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. I'll Be Home for Christmas
  2. A Christmas Love Song
  3. What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?
  4. I Remember
  5. Snowbound
  6. It Must Have Been the Mistletoe
  7. Christmas Lullaby
  8. Christmas Mem'ries
  9. Grown Up Christmas List
  10. Ave Maria
  11. Closer
  12. One God

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Barbra Streisand   Primary Artist,Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Peter Erskine   Drums
David Foster   Keyboards
John Chiodini   Guitar
Bruce Dukov   Concert Master
Sue Ann Carwell   Background Vocals
Robbie Buchanan   Keyboards
Jorge Calandrelli   Conductor
Dave Carpenter   Bass
Vinnie Colaiuta   Drums
George Doering   Guitar
Chuck Domanico   Bass
Bob Esty   Choir Conductor
Gary Grant   Horn
Michael Landau   Guitar
Michael Lang   Keyboards
Dean Parks   Guitar
Tom Ranier   Keyboards
John "J.R." Robinson   Drums
Neil Stubenhaus   Electric Bass
Randy Waldman   Keyboards
Gayle Levant   Harp
Michael Hart Thompson   Guitar
William Ross   Conductor
Wendi Wagner   Background Vocals
Tim Davis   Choir, Chorus
Ralph Morrison   Concert Master

Technical Credits

Barbra Streisand   Producer,Liner Notes,Executive Producer
Chris Boardman   Arranger
David Foster   Composer,Producer,rhythm arrangement
Buck Ram   Composer
Ann Hampton Callaway   Composer
Robbie Buchanan   Arranger,Producer
Jorge Calandrelli   Arranger
Don Costa   Arranger
Peter Doell   Engineer
Felipe Elgueta   Engineer
Mark Eshelman   Engineer
Bob Esty   Vocal Arrangements
Kim Gannon   Composer
Humberto Gatica   Engineer
Eddie Karam   Arranger
Walter Kent   Composer
Nathaniel Kunkel   Engineer
Jay Landers   Producer,Liner Notes,Executive Producer
Sue McLean   Engineer
Bobbi Page   Choir Contractor
Dave Reitzas   Engineer
Alex Rodriguez   Engineer
Schmitt   Engineer
Bill Smith   Engineer
William Ross   Arranger,Producer,Orchestral Arrangements
Koji Egawa   Engineer
Gabrielle Raumberger   Art Direction
Patrick Weber   Engineer
Justin Smith   Engineer
Chris Brooke   Engineer
Linda Thompson-Jenner   Composer
Jason Lloyd   Engineer
Traditional   Composer
Lisa Crockatt   Prop Stylist
Scott Erickson   Engineer
Gonoud   Composer

Customer Reviews

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Christmas Memories 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Much cynicism attended this release of Christmas music by Barbra Streisand. It is no secret that her post-''Broadway Album'' records have not been selling well (with the exception of ''Higher Ground''), and the Christmas album was long-rumoured to be recorded to placate the record company given her huge advances. That said, this collection is anything but cynical. In fact, it is probably the best material and singing that Streisand has done in years. With her first Christmas album consisting largely of standards, nearly 25-years later she forages out into new-song terrain, a potential danger for the Christmas album. Not to worry, though. Her choices are exemplary, especially on ''What Are You Doing New Year's Eve,'' and ''One God.'' Perhaps her insprovisation of Shubert ''Ave Maria'' is a little inappropriate, and the harmonization a little cheesy, but it is the one exception here. She has turned Stephen Sondheim's ''I Remember'' into a nostalgic hymn, and I'm sure you'll agree that she was born to sing this song.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is no one like Streisand... No one... I bought second CD just in case anything happened to the first. The songs One God and Grown Up Christmas List are absolutely beautiful. The whole CD is breathtaking. Again, there's NO ONE like Streisand!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sumptous and classy arrangements, and some of the most passionate and relaxed singing Barbra Streisand has done since ''The BroadwayAlbum.'' Her recent albums have revealed a deeper and more mature sounding vocalist, though no less thrilling. But while those albums have something to recommend, and sometimes very much so, they miss the mark in the end by the creeping discrepancy in the quality of the song versus the performance. Here, the material is stellar, and the singing equally so. There's nothing like it when the song fits the singer, especially when that singer is Streisand. She seems so at home with these songs, and never forces her performances. ''I Remember'' is certainly one the best tracks Streisand has ever recorded, and ''I'll Be Home for Christmas,'' ''Snowbound,'' ''Ave Maria,'' ''What Are You Doin New Year's Eve''aren't far behind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a treasure, this is a timeless album that shows off the best of Barbra. Make sure that it is under your Christmas Tree !!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As any follower of Streisand's recording career knows, her albums since ''The Broadway Album'' have been a mixed bag. ''Till I Loved You'' was pretty strident, ''Back to Broadway'' was overproduced, ''Higher Ground'' was good but Barbra's voice seemed weaker, ''A Love Like Ours'' was syrupy. Finally, after several years we have a new album where the material and the vocals are evenly matched and ''Christmas Memories'' is it. (and thankfully NO duets!) The first 8 songs are a mixed blend of highly enjoyable, light ''background'' Christmas songs, yet it is the last 4 songs that will blow you away. ''Grown Up Christmas List'' is an enchanting new performance for Barbra, who embues it with just the right balance of childlike wonder and adult optimism. ''Ave Maria'' (this time Schubert's version), is angelic, with Streisand harmonizing with her own vocals. A truly brilliant performance. ''Closer'', quite possibly one of the best performances of Barbra's career. Hauntingly beautiful without being overwrought. Catch the numerous subtle nuances in Barbra's voice. They imbue this song with a wistful longing for Christmas past. Incredible. ''One God''. The perfect final song. It takes someone of Streisand's talent and stature to carry off a piece like this without sounding bombastic or preachy. A breathtaking vocal that will leave you wanting more. If you've been wondering if Barbra had somehow ''lost it'' over the past decade, this album will prove that it's all still there and better than ever! Thanks Barbra!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I ran out to get this CD as soon as I could after it's release. I was able to listen to it alone in my car while driving to work. WOW!!!! Barbra sounds great and her selection of primarily non-traditional songs makes this a CD that you can listen to anytime of year and enjoy. Still reeling from the events of Sept. 11th, the song, ''One God'' is very moving and makes quite a statement. I also enjoyed the ''Grown-Up Christmas List'' song and hope it will be played on the radio during the upcoming holiday season. Thank you Barbra for giving us some new songs to add to our playing list this holiday season. I felt that I would probably not buy another Christmas CD because I had all the standards. Thanks again, Barbra....you made my Christmas a little brighter.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The ''All Music Guide'' review here is ridiculous. Since when does expressing universal sentiments of a world without wars and all people having friends etc. become a political song? Dour? I sincerely doubt it. The reviewer doesn't mention one word about Streisand's actual singing, among the best of her career or the fact that several of the earlier songs are very pleasant and songs like ''It Must Have Been the Mistletoe'' are very fun and upbeat. Once again, another review of Streisand the person, not the work. Inappropriate and just simply wrong. Listen for yourself... CS
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a delight to hear one of the greatest voices of our time doing another Christmas themed album. It's nice to see that Barbra has not duplicated herself with mostly traditional songs again. I've read some other reviews on other sites and though most are gracious, some are simply bizarre. Some make comparisons between singers, which is childish and inappropriate. I believe that if you don't like Streisand, then don't buy her records. It's very simple. Spare yourself and us the stress of hearing about it. Also, I find the rantings of some reviewers on other sites about this not being a very Christian Christmas album especially odd. Jesus and Mary were, after all, Jewish people themselves, as is Streisand. The roots of all Christianity are in Judaism. To say that one must be Christian to enjoy in the spirit of the season is absurd. Being catholic myself, I have no problem with anyone, of any religion, sharing in the celebration of peace and hope that is an essential part of Christmas-time. In fact, I believe attempting to disenfranchise anyone from joining in Christmastime celebrations to be decidely not ''Christ-like''. That being said... and now that I've had a chance to listen to the album a few times, I find Barbra completely magical here. No fluff, no filler, no ready for radio fodder and thankfully no duets. This is clearly Barbra's best singing since 1985 and I believe ''Closer'' to be one of her all time best ballads. At 59, her crispness, clarity and the careless ease with which she carries notes has lost none of its strength. Over the years I've noticed only the slightest drop in Barbra's upper range which has been more than offset by a richer, fuller and more confident sound. In fact, this slight change in voice is most welcome since I believe that each stage of her recording career will have its own unique and individual sound. I agree with one reviewer that the best is yet to come from Streisand. Hopefully a ''Broadway Album - Act III'' will not be far away... perhaps a ''Guilty Again'' and with any great luck an album of all new contemporary songs that will bring Barbra's wonderful voice back to the airwaves and inspire a whole new generation of fans. This album on so many levels, does not disappoint, but instead builds great hope for things ahead. By the way... Merry Christmas Barbra! Chris
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is a masterpiece to be enjoyed beyond the Christmas season. Turn off the lights, sit back in a comfortable armchair, turn the disc player on, close your eyes and listen to 12 remarkable musical arrangements and presentations of a voice which is unlike no other.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I won't go as far as other reviewers and say that some of Barbra's recent efforts were not up to par; but will admit that that her trademark magical ''something'' hasn't always been quite as present with her last few efforts.(''Timeless'' was totally mediocre) But no one can dispute that ''Christmas Memories'' is OUTSTANDING! This album is truly one of Barbra's best. Streisand has not moved me in years, until now. The choice and order of the songs, the power, the clarity, the emotion...it's all here. Barbra is clearly enjoying herself and it shows. The flow of the songs is genius; ''I Remember'' leading into the sweeping and dramatic first few bars of ''Snowbound'' is well, I get varklempt with every listen. Seriously folks, don't miss this one. A perfect gift from the most gifted and celebrated artist on the planet ! It defies logic how a god-given voice like Streisand's can sound this good at ffffifty-nine. Can our Funny Girl really be 59?
Guest More than 1 year ago
There is nothing wrong with this album. In fact parts of it are simply beautiful . (Listen to A Christmas Love Song and I'll Be Home For Christmas, especially). But this album, as lovely as it is, is no match for Babs's first Christmas album, released in 1967. That album was just the perfect blend of traditional songs (''The Christmas Song,'' ''Jingle Bells'' ''Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas'') and less familiar stuff (''The Best Gift'' ''I Wonder as I Wander''). And I think Barbra does one of the best renditions of ''Silent Night'' that I've ever heard, by far. So I say please don't get this new album without purchasing the older one as well. They are kind of wonderful, special companion pieces that should be heard together. Happy Holidays! Happy Listening!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just a great record, Superb voice, choros and orchestation, the album is just ''Streisand'' The last 4 songs.... Really a all time gift
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got this CD the day it came out and have not stopped listening yet. It is too beautiful for words. I have not wanted to hear any other Christmas CD -- only this one. I am mesmerized by it and I think it is one of the best Barbra has ever done. I've been a fan of her's forever as I am not much older than she and this is one everyone must have. I intend to keep listening throughout the year. I can only say that I have never bought a CD which I could not stop listening to until this one -- I even gave a couple of them for gifts this Christmas.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A well-deserved Grammy nomination...great choice of songs, beautiful arrangements and orchestrations...plus a sweet touch of romance. Includes contemporary Christmas songs by David Foster and Justin Wilde. "One God" is WONDERFUL!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am so happy I purchased this CD. Believe me when I say it will make you feel soooo good and mellow. It'll also make you fall in love all over again. Stacy, The Bahamas