Collector's Mantovani - volume two

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An eagerly awaited second collection from a Mantovani expert is now available from Vocalion


by Colin MacKenzie

1 Tania
2 Sail Away
3 Summer Night
4 Someone Nice Like You
5 Far Away
6 Mutiny On The Bounty
7 Love Song from Mutiny On The Bounty - Follow Me
8 Only Yesterday
9 Non Dimenticar
10 The Churchill March
11 In The Spring (Il y Avait)
12 Red Petticoats
13 Rickshaw
14 A Girl Named Tamiko
15 Japanese Lullaby
16 Willow Tree
17 Games That Lovers Play
18 The World's A Lovely Place
19 Love Theme from The Carpetbaggers
20 Taras Bulba
21 March In 3/4
22 Greengage Summer
23 Anthony & Cleopatra
24 The Orange Vendor
25 Where Shall I Find Him?
26 Teddy Bears' Picnic
27 Let Me Be Loved 

Vocalion CDLK 4233
Tracks 15, 18, 21 and 25 previously unissued

1, 3, 5, 13, 20, 24, 27 previously available only in Britain as mono 45 rpm singles
2, 4, 9, 22, 26 previously available only in USA as mono 45 rpm singles

1, 8, 12, 13,15, 21, 24 composed by Mantovani

This second volume of Collector's Mantovani is possibly even more important for Mantovani collectors than its predecessor (Vocalion CDLK 4152, issued in 2002). As before, there are unissued recordings, rarities and undiscovered delights, but this time the majority of the performances are presented in a stereo format. The fact that just two of them (Red Petticoats and Games That Lovers Play) were released on LPs does not imply that the others were of inferior quality. It just happens that Mantovani was so active in the Decca recording studios especially in the early 1960s that some material was left out of his many album releases for one reason or another.

The vaults have now been dusted down again and numerous "lost" gems hovered up for an excitingly varied collection generously sponsored by RFS members Nicholas Briggs and Alan Dixon, and a keen Mantovani fan Paul Barrett. Hopefully, the rich variety of choice on display will again show that
Mantovani was a fine composer of light orchestral themes (there are seven of his pieces here) as well being a leading purveyor of lush mood music. Listeners should also enjoy re-discovering several imposing film themes too, most of which are now unavailable elsewhere.

The earliest melody comes from June 1952, this being an unusual symphonic version of Teddy Bears’ Picnic which was issued only in America on a London single. It's not clear who did the jaunty arrangement, but you may wonder whether it bears the fingerprints of Ronnie Binge, Mantovani's
principal arranger until mid-1952. The British version of Let Me Be Loved from the film "The James Dean Story", with a pulsating trumpet solo by Stan Newsome, comes from August 1957; the earlier American one which sounds very similar would have been fitted into volume 1 had not a portion of the tape been missing!

Emerging from June 1958 is the beautifully understated theme Only Yesterday by Roy Faye which was tucked away quietly on an EP and the B side of a 45; the composer's name masks the identity of a certain Mr Mantovani who is also playing the piano!

The evocative Continental waltz In The Spring and the lively tango The Orange Vendor were recorded at Decca in January 1960, the latter piece bearing the name of "Rodilo" as composer, but hiding the identity of Mantovani who wrote the number after seeing a colourful orange vendor plying his wares on a Venetian canal. For the lovely Italian song Non Dimenticar from March 1961 one might have anticipated an arrangement with guitars, mandolins and accordion, but Mantovani surprises us with a delightfully original rendition featuring saxophonist Norman Barker. Like several others in the collection this hidden gem appeared only on a London (USA) 45 and has not been heard in Britain until now.

On the other hand, American listeners may be intrigued to hear at last on record the lively Mantovani composition Tania from July 1960 which was issued only in Britain; it may still be familiar to them, however, as the opening number from his concert tour of America later that year.

Those admirers of British composer Richard Addinsell will be pleased to find here an excerpt from his memorable score for the film "The Greengage Summer", recorded in June 1961 for another US single release. In the following August Mantovani taped the frothy title track and the carefully structured Where Shall I Find Him? from the Noel Coward musical "Sail Away". One suspects that on the latter melody this might be Mantovani again at the piano.

The year 1962 spawned two outstanding melodies from the Marlon Brando movie "Mutiny On The Bounty", its stirring main theme introducing Shenandoah and the beguiling love song Follow Me. Also from that year are two worthy Lionel Bart show songs, The World's A Lovely Place, a feature for master accordionist Emile Charlier and later used in the 1964 production of "Maggie May", and the delightful Far Away from "Blitz". A fine piano inspired version of Someone Nice Like You from the Bricusse-Newley show "Stop The World - I Want To Get Off" comes from the same period, but just who is that mystery pianist who sounds like a combination of Ronnie Aldrich and Mantovani himself?

During the summer of 1962 Mantovani recorded his own Rickshaw with its interesting change of tempo and the glorious Summer Night which was written by the late Benny Carter, more usually known for his jazz numbers. The interesting story behind this neglected title and why it was recorded only by Mantovani can be followed in the inlay notes for the CD. With its waves of strings and seductive accordion Summer Night is quintessential Mantovani and is given its rightful prominence at last. Of all the wonderful recordings made by Mantovani of our type of music this is surely one of his
very best.

In January 1963 the alluring film themes from "Taras Bulba", which starred Tony Curtis and Yul Brynner, and "A Girl Named Tamiko", featuring Laurence Harvey, were taped, followed by the wistful Anthony & Cleopatra theme from the Richard Burton-Elizabeth Taylor epic "Cleopatra" in May. From early 1964 comes the recording of Love Theme from "The Carpetbaggers" which has previously appeared fleetingly on an obscure CD, but which disappeared from sale so quickly that it was thought worthy of repetition here. Ron Grainer's magnificent The Churchill March from the acclaimed film docu-drama "The Finest Hours" is from the same year and will surely be welcomed by movie buffs because of its unavailability elsewhere.

As already indicated, Games That Lovers Play from 1966 and Mantovani's own Red Petticoats, originally recorded in late 1952 but re-recorded in the summer of 1968, have appeared in stereo format on American LPs, but not in Britain, hence their inclusion here. From 1968, too, comes another obscure single Willow Tree and, finally, we should take note of two late unissued Mantovani compostions, the frisky March In 3/4 (from June 1968) and the wonderfully ethereal Japanese Lullaby from January 1969.

If you have problems in obtaining this CD from your local record store, copies are available from the RFS Record Service for £10 [US $20] each, plus p&p.

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