Remember the “Pink Panther” theme?
Now try getting it out of your head.
You are watching: Dun dun dun da-da da-da dun dun dun piano
That stylishly urbane ear-worm, along with many others by Henry Mancini—“Moon River,” “Two for the Road”—will be stuck in the minds of everyone who heard the Cape Symphony Orchestra’s “Mancini at the Movies” presentation in the Barnstable Performing Arts Center Saturday afternoon.
If you were alive in the last of half of the 20th century, you heard Mancini’s music. Rich scores to “Days of Wine and Roses,” “Charade” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” ensured his fame (and wealth—he kept his rights). His noir theme to TV’s “Peter Gunn” remains as slinky as it was sixty years ago.
Mancini’s arrangement of the love theme from “Romeo and Juliet” was number one on the charts—in 1969, hardly the era of sentimental songs. And although his tunes were co-opted as “easy listening”—Wayne Newton will be singing “Days of Wine and Roses” somewhere tonight—the music was exquisitely orchestrated, and offered brilliant solo opportunities throughout the eventful performance.
The program was underrehearsed, with awkward comings and goings onstage, but in fairness there were many moving parts. All the songs were accompanied by video accompaniment, and some of it was arrestingly presented. Synchronized synopses of “The Thorn Birds,” “Victor/Victoria” and “Charade” not only captured Mancini’s magic, but brought those long-passed films and shows back to life. A cleverly condensed version of “Cinema Paradiso” was particularly well done.
Mancini’s daughter Monica, a double Grammy nominee (Dad won 20), joined the orchestra after intermission to recount some memories and sing half-a-dozen hits. A veteran pops performer, who definitely knows her way around a mike, Monica Mancini sang stylishly when digging into her father’s favorites. “This one put me through college,” she said, before launching into the sweeping “Moon River.” When she sang, the gaffs and stage confusion meant nothing.
The orchestra—fortified by a piano/rhythm section—had its own moments. Standup solos for sax, flute, french horn, violin and trumpet punctuated the performance. Concertmaster Jae Cosmos Lee’s solo for “Yesterday” proved the high point of a surprisingly wistful Beatles medley.
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The next Cape Symphony Orchestra performance will be the Skylark Vocal Ensemble on Nov. 2 and 3, performing music of Bach. For tickets and information visit www.capesymphony.org or call 508-362-1111.