Soundtrack Spotlight #1: Sometimes a Great Notion (Henry Mancini)

The first Soundtrack of the Week. I've thought long and hard about this. I have been conflicted in choosing between an old favorite and a current listening pleasure of mine. I decided to go with an old favorite.

I've loved this score since I was a kid, when I saw the film at age twelve. There is something really extraordinary about the music of this soundtrack. Scoreheads know the Mancini sound. How could you distill it? Playful, optimistic, whimsical, arpeggiated comedic scores that take adventures with major harmonies; droning, strangely mournful suspense scores often with experimental instrumentation and diminished chords offset by 7s (sure, that's very technical, but I can spot a Mancini score from miles away using this key). So how is this score from Sometimes a Great Notion so antithetical and interesting?

First of all, it doesn't explicitly feature the Mancini sound, although the score is nevertheless his and his alone. It can be likened to a hybrid of Quincy Jones in the early 70's and Lalo Schifrin late 60's so-called "Gone Southern" scores. The use of harmonica, pipe organ and a kind of honky-tonk piano is truly beautiful. And, of course, there is the Charlie Pride opening title tune "All His Children" thrown in for good measure. Tracks I recommend (in order of preference): "A Lonely Man's Song," "Lee," "Tiny Tug Boat," "Rollin' On".

Download the score here.

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