One of the hallmarks of Henry Mancini's music is that it seems so relaxed and effortless, fitting neatly into any situation demanded by a Film or Television programme. The themes just seemed to flow from the composer, and straight into the collective unconscious of millions of cinema goers. Yet this ease of listening does not necessarily imply an equal ease of creation. Indeed there is a lot of attention to detail in Mancini's music, whether it is the appropriateness of the themes, the beat and pacing, the style or the arranging across a carefully chosen palette of instruments. His craftmanship was exceptional, and this CD aims to capture something of the range of his skills. It starts appropriately enough with "The Pink Panther theme", and quickly covers "Moon River" from the film "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and the comical "Baby Elephant Walk" from "Hatari!". In those three opening tracks alone we are beginning to get a sense for the essential qualities of this composer, the breadth of his range but also an appreciation for his unique style.
We are also treated to one of the composer's early successes from the world of Television, his theme for "Peter Gunn", written for one of his earliest collaborations with director Blake Edwards. Like this particular theme, their collaboration moved onto the big screen and lasted through many different projects including "Darling Lili", "Breakfast at Tiffany's", "Mr. Lucky", "The Party" and the Pink Panther films. As well as the classic "Moon River" this soundtrack collection brings additional highlights from his song-writing career from "Charade" and "Days of Wine and Roses". These songs represent another highly successful collaboration for Mancini, this time with lyricist Johnny Mercer who provided the words for the majority of the composer's songs. In many ways the songs of Mancini are inseparable from his film music because they all function equally well as stand-alone tracks which have been released on many albums by the composer and others. This particular soundtrack CD is available from: Amazon.co.uk in the UK, and Amazon.com in the US.