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Charade

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Album Review

Reflecting the European setting of Stanley Donen's 1963 comedy thriller Charade, Henry Mancini's soundtrack provides an easy listening tour of continental musical history: Parisian café songs on "Bistro," Eastern European gypsy music on "Bateau Mouche," Schubert quartets on "Bye Charlie," and some beer barrel polka on "Punch and Judy." Thrown in for variety's sake are dashes of Bond soundtracks, Cossack songs, and Strauss waltzes. With Mancini's typically cohesive approach, though, Charade doesn't become a messy pastiche (even with his mix of Latin rhythms and classical music on some tracks). And in the spirit of inclusiveness, Mancini also shows his south of the border touch on "Mambo Parisienne" (picture Perez Prado sporting an accordion), "Latin Snowfall" (transcendentally gorgeous bolero, one of his best), and "Mégève" (bossa nova for the Biarritz set). Also don't overlook one of his biggest hits and finest melodies, "Charade" (done here in instrumental, vocal, and carousel? versions). A great Mancini recording made during the same fruitful, early-'60s period that produced two other fine soundtracks of his, Breakfast at Tiffany's andThe Pink Panther.

Biography

Born: 16 April 1924 in Cleveland, OH

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

If the recognition of one's peers is the true measure of success, then few men are as successful as composer, arranger, and conductor Henry Mancini. In a career that spanned 40 years, writing for film and television, Mancini won four Oscars and twenty Grammys, the all-time record for a pop artist. For 1961's Breakfast at Tiffany's alone, Mancini won five Grammys and two Oscars. Breakfast at Tiffany's includes the classic "Moon River" (lyrics by Johnny Mercer), arguably one of the finest pop songs...
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