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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

CD REVIEW - The Music of Henry Mancini

The Music of Henry Mancini
Arranged and performed by Richard Hayman and His Orchestra
Naxos 8.557825 (E.U.)
21 Tracks 74:55 mins

A welcome reissue of this 1991 overview of the work of the ever-popular and much-missed Henry Mancini, as arranged and performed by Richard Hayman and His Orchestra. True, film music purists will perhaps find fault with some of these "pops" arrangements, but this is undeniably a thoroughly entertaining and easy-to-listen-to album, which covers all the popular hits like Peter Gunn, Moon River, Baby Elephant Walk, Dear Heart, Days of Wine & Roses, The Pink Panther (what happened to the sax?) and Charade, as well as perhaps less well known pieces like The Great Race (both the march and pie fight themes are featured), Two for the Road, Lifeforce, The Glass Menagerie and The Thorn Birds. Some of the tracks presented do not originate from the screen, whilst some may, but are unfamiliar to me and, without benefit of some guidance from Peter Dempsey's booklet notes, which provide biographical info only, I can only name them in the hope that they may be familiar to you. Thus we have String on Fire, Dream of a Lifetime, Ballerina's Dream, Drummer's Delight and March with Mancini, all entertaining in their own way, whatever their origins. And we are also treated to Hank's precious Beaver valley '37 suite.
This is a great album to put on as background music, whilst you undertake some boring chore, or to just sit and relax to.


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