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December 24, 2012

Barbra Streisand and the ultimate 'Silent Night'

Being a veteran Streisand fanatic, I cannot think of a better way to send Christmas greetings to my blog readers than with her incomparable version of "Silent Night" from the 1960s.

I think this performance beautifully underlines the universality of music and the eternal, if ever elusive, hope for peace on earth:

Posted by Tim Smith at 7:02 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Clef Notes


My family always got the Goodyear Christmas album from the Goodyear store every year (Did we buy new tires every year?!). The first time I ever saw or heard Barbra Streisand was on one of these albums, and the liner notes described her as "one of the big, big singers" or something like that. She sang Silent Night. You have to give credit to all the singers who have recorded it since then, knowing full well they would come up short by comparison.

Agreed. To me, it marks the first time a pop singer interpreted the carol, instead of just singing it. Thanks very much for your sharing your thoughts. TIM

Indeeed,The best ”Silent Night”,listen and watch her face ,how she interprets this song in front of 135000 people,she makes it feels like you alone with her. being this good is simply the best

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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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