On this rainy dog day of summer, it seems that it would be a bright token to treat you to this incredible rendition of Make Our Garden Grow from the musical Candide sung by Barbra Streisand.  There is no question that it will cheer you up by its extraordinary artistry and sheer optimism.

Little is known about this bootleg tape of a  Barbra Steisand recording session apparently in 1988. The song has never appeared on any album because of an apparent pitch problem in the performance; but the overall interpretation of the song is quite astounding.

This song, Make Our Garden Grow, is from the operetta, Candide originally performed on Broadway in 1956. The operetta was the dream child of Leonard Bernstein . The production involved a legendary group of collaborators including a  make-you-smile-how-could-this-ever-have happened-ensemble including Leonard Bernstein, himself, Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman, Stephen Sondheim, and Hugh Wheeler.

Although unsuccessful at its premiere, Candide has now overcome the unenthusiastic reaction of early critics and achieved enormous popularity, especially the music. It is popular among major Universities and music schools as a student show because of the quality of its music and the opportunities it offers to student performers.

Candide, ou l’Optimisme   was first published in 1759 by Voltaire, a philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment. The novella  has been widely translated, with English versions titled Candide: or, All for the Best (1759); Candide: or, The Optimist (1762); and Candide: or, Optimism (1947) and the opera by Bernstein in 1957. As expected by Voltaire, Candide has enjoyed both great success and great scandal. Immediately after its secretive publication, the book was widely banned because it contained religious blasphemy, political sedition and intellectual hostility hidden under a thin veil of naïveté

The show has always struggled with the central theme of optimism; but this song that has always concluded the show and endures because of its chop-wood-carry-water aspirations against the troubles of the world.

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3 responses to Barbra Streisand’s rendition of “Make Our Garden Grow”

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