Midnight, Moonlight & Magic: The Very Best of Henry Mancini
RCA (82876 59226 2)
Release Date: 2004
|1.||The Pink Panther Theme|
|3.||Baby Elephant Walk|
|4.||The Sweetheart Tree|
|5.||In The Arms Of Love|
|7.||Days Of Wine And Roses|
|9.||The Inspector Clouseau Theme|
|11.||Two For The Road|
|12.||Candlelight On Crystal|
|15.||Theme From "Cade's County"|
|16.||Whistling Away The Dark|
|19.||It Had Better Be Tonight|
|20.||Nothing To Lose|
|22.||Mystery Movie Theme|
|23.||Love Theme From "Romeo And Juliet"|
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|by Steve Townsley
on August 12th, 2004
Henry Mancini is without a doubt one of the coolest composers of the 20th century. This latest compilation of his work may be nothing new to fans and aficionados of film music, but to the younger generation of fans: take heed! Celebrating the 80th anniversary of his birth, this collection reviews a broad range of Mr. Mancini’s more memorable songs and themes. "The Pink Panther" theme must be one of the most immediately recognizable tunes in existence, as is the theme to "Peter Gunn" (you know—the one used in the "Spyhunter" video game)—still as effective in generating an atmosphere of coolness today as the day it was written. "Baby Elephant Walk" was even employed liberally in an episode of "The Simpsons", so it’s a safe bet that somewhere along, you’ve had a Mancini experience.
I will grant that most of the songs you’ll hear on this album are going to sound a bit like music you might hear your grandmother playing on a Sunday afternoon. Men and women’s choirs crooning soft emotional ballads as strings soar behind them. Mancini’s music does come off as a little, well…dated. Maybe you never saw Jack Lemmon’s performance in Days of Wine and Roses, or you haven’t yet experienced Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s - still, you can appreciate the tenderness of "Moon River", songs which inspired millions of movie and music fans. Mancini’s themes never seem too heavy-handed in getting the point across, and the arrangements are very easy on the ear. Amusing, even, is how Mancini’s "Mystery Move Theme" seems to imply mystery without being ominous or overbearing, and yet still catchy.
Dedicated fans of film music will probably pass on this album, but for those of you who may not know Henry Mancini’s work, or may be looking for the right introductory album, this CD is a good place to start—it might also be a nice gift for an older member of your family with whom you want to share your love of film music.
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