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September 21, 2011

Midweek Madness: A 'Glee'-triggered memory of Streisand, Harold Arlen

The season-opener of "Glee" sure had its peaks last night, not to mention some lows (could we please drop those damn slush-in-the-face scenes?).

One of the musical high points offered yet more proof, as if any were needed, that some serious Streisand fanatics are involved with that show. Last season, a stunning Barbra-Judy duet was re-created for Rachel and Kurt. On Tuesday's show, those irrepressible Glee-fuls tackled ...

a re-make of a much less known duet from the early '60s album "Harold Sings Arlen (with Friend)."

Harold Arlen was not exactly a great vocalist, but he was one of the greatest American songwriters, so why not let him warble his own tunes? In "Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead," the composer was joined by the young Streisand in a rock-ish and almost tacky, but rather fun, arrangement that the "Glee" segment took and ran with (to engaging effect).

Here, for your Midweek Madness diversion, is the original inspiration with Babs and Harold:


Posted by Tim Smith at 12:09 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Midweek Madness

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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