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Film Encores Volume 2

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Album Review

When people think of easy listening in the 21st century, they usually picture bachelor-pad luminaries like Henry Mancini, Esquivel, or even Burt Bacharach; but back in the day when jazz was pop and strings ruled the roost, Mantovani was the star attraction in the field. The Italian-born violinist, composer, and conductor had already achieved fame in Europe before he cracked the States during the first half of the '50s. And beyond just churning out after-hours titles for the suburban set, Mantovani was one of the most innovative of string arrangers and helped shift the focus away from singles and live music to studio production and full-length albums; this mid-'50s collection of film themes provides ample proof of the maestro's golden way around both studio and orchestra. Highlights include "When You Wish Upon a Star" (Pinochio), "Fascination" (Love in the Afternoon), and "Secret Love" (Calamity Jane). There aren't any revelatory, soundtrack-level moments here, but the nonstop flow of gorgeous strings will make anybody's winter evening by the record player a rewarding one.


Born: 15 November 1905 in Venice, Italy

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '10s, '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Conductor, composer, violinist, and pianist Mantovani was one of the most popular and prolific easy listening artists of all time. His trademark "cascading strings" (or "tumbling strings") effect gave him an instantly recognizable sound, and his heavy reliance on the string section in general helped map out the blueprint for much of the light orchestral music that followed in his wake. His repertoire did feature original compositions, but was built chiefly on lush adaptations of familiar melodies:...
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