Henry Mancini through the years:
(left to right) 1920s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s.
Henry Mancini with Gene Lees, "Did They Mention
the Music?", Contemporary Books, 252 pp.
John Caps, "Henry Mancini: Reinventing Film Music" (Music in
American Life), University of Illinois Press, 312 pages
A description from Amazon.com:
Through film composer Henry Mancini, mere background music in movies
became part of pop culture--an expression of sophistication and wit
with a modern sense of cool and a lasting lyricism that has not dated.
The first comprehensive study of Mancini's music, Henry Mancini:
Reinventing Film Music describes how the composer served as a bridge
between the Big Band period of World War II and the impatient
eclecticism of the Baby Boomer generation, between the grand formal
orchestral film scores of the past and a modern American minimalist
approach. Mancini's sound seemed to capture the bright, confident,
welcoming voice of the middle class's new efficient life: interested in
pop songs and jazz, in movie and television, in outreach politics but
also conventional stay-at-home comforts. As John Caps shows, Mancini
easily combined it all in his music.
Mancini wielded influence in Hollywood and around the world with his
iconic scores: dynamic jazz for the noirish detective TV show Peter
Gunn, the sly theme from The Pink Panther, and his wistful folk song
"Moon River" from Breakfast at Tiffany's. Through insightful close
readings of key films, Caps traces Mancini's collaborations with
important directors and shows how he homed in on specific dramatic or
comic aspects of the film to create musical effects through clever
instrumentation, eloquent musical gestures, and meaningful resonances
and continuities in his scores. Accessible and engaging, this fresh
view of Mancini's oeuvre and influence will delight and inform fans of
film and popular music.
John Caps is an award-winning writer and producer of documentaries. He
served as producer, writer, and host for four seasons of the National
Public Radio syndicated series The Cinema Soundtrack, featuring
interviews with and music of film composers. He lives in Baltimore,