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‘Encore’ review: Barbra Streisand’s duets collection delivers with elegant results

Barbra Streisand's

Barbra Streisand's "Encore" features duets with nearly a dozen of Hollywood's biggest stars. Credit: Columbia Records

BARBRA STREISAND

“Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway”

THE GRADE A-

BOTTOM LINE Streisand ambitiously pairs actors and Broadway classics with elegant results

It may sound like blasphemy, especially where Barbra Streisand is involved, but perfection is overrated.

Though Streisand has spent much of her legendary career fretting about every single note she sings, on her new album “Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway” (Columbia), there are some notes that are less than perfect and, somewhat shockingly, a few may belong to her — because the delivery conveys the moment better or it adds to her duet partner’s performance.

For this warm, enjoyable collection, Streisand works with actors to tackle some Broadway classics, using dialogue to set the scene. It works remarkably well with Hugh Jackman on the stormy “Any Moment Now” and with Alec Baldwin on “The Best Thing That Ever Has Happened,” where his loose, likable delivery sets up Streisand gloriously.

The real revelation here, though, is Chris Pine, whose wonderful croon on the medley of “I’ll Be Seeing You” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” should have Michael Bublé quaking.

With “Encore,” as on her accompanying tour, Streisand embraces the realities of her 74-year-old voice and that decision pays dividends for everyone involved — including her fans.

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