Mommie Dearest/Mancini

May 22, 2012

This new soundtrack from La-La Land (limited edition release of 2000), has finally arrived thirty one years  after the release of the controversial film  Mommie Dearest, the story of the life of Joan Crawford and her children starring Faye Dunaway. This is not your typical Henry Mancini CD; far from it. The popular soundtrack releases of Hank were in fact re-recordings of the film material in stereo with handpicked studio musicians who understood how to play Mancini compositions. There was an instantly recognizable sound to a Mancini arrangement and melody if one had any interest in his material. As Jeff Bond points out in his extensive liner notes that Mancini wasn’t interested in some of the primitive mono techniques that Hollywood used for their soundtracks which is one of the reasons he chose to put out pop arrangements of his scores. Henry was one of the main reasons that I became interested in soundtrack material. My very first piece of vinyl was Peter Gunn purchased in 1959. I’ve never quit buying.

 

What you’ll hear on this release is all of the excellent underscore material, the haunting main theme, extra takes, and source music from the film. To some this will be a new experience to the Mancini listener. Previously only the main theme saw a release on the 1990 Mancini Surround (RCA 60471-2-RC). This isn’t material that dominates the film but is quietly in the background. The Main Title begins with solo piano chords which are a prelude to the flute offering the melody. It continues for nearly a minute before the strings, a bassoon and clarinet solo of the melody enter. This goes through a series of variations of the theme before it once more returns to the haunting theme. It ends with similar piano chords. Primarily this is a monothematic score with the theme or variation of it appearing in tracks 1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,and 14. Battle Axe is an excellent example of the style of terror/tension material from Mancini we first heard in Experiment in Terror and something that modern day composers should listen to. You don’t have to be loud to get your point across! It is primarily lower register with dissonance from swirling strings and it ends with a long extended piano chord. One of the highlights is a source cue written by Mancini called “Birthday Party” that is a carnival style music on the calliope which reminded me of a track from Charade. Other source cues include Handel “Water Music,” Christmas Music, and some nice solo piano music.

 

The digital mastering from Mike Matessino along with liner notes from Jeff Bond are a plus to this release which will have Mancini fans lining up to get this issue. Recommended!

 

Track listing

 

1.   Main Title (04:41)

2.   Of Shoes and Socks (01:33)

3.   My Darling Daughter (02:15)

4.   A Lovely Day* (01:58)

5.   On Your Mark (01:07)

6.   The Little Star*/Bye Bye Greg (01:45)

7.   Spoiled Children (01:11)

8.   Battle Axe (02:25)

9.   A Test of Wills (02:11)

10. No Wire Hangers* (01:34)

11. Uncle Daddy/She’s Drunk/First Kiss (03:43)

12. Home Again* (02:19)

13. No More Pain* (02:37)

14. End Credits (02:56)

Tracks 1-14 – FILM SCORE

 

TOTAL SCORE TIME: 32:12

 

 

15. Birthday Party (04:21)

16. Isn’t It Romantic?/June in January (02:31)

composed by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers / composed by Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger

17. I’m Sitting on Top of the World (00:35)

composed by Ray Henderson, Samuel M. Lewis and Joseph Young

EMI Feist Catalog Inc./Ray Henderson Music Co. Inc./Warlock Corporation (ASCAP)

18. Christmas Music (02:06)

Contains “Away in a Manger” composed by James E. Epilman and Martin Luther, and “Silent Night” composed by Franz Gruber; arranged by Jack Hayes

19. Tangerine / To Each His Own (03:15)

composed by Johnny Mercer and Victor Schertzinger / composed by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston

20. Minuet in F (from “Water Music”) (01:30)

composed by George Frederick Handel

21. Winner: Ray Midland/Winner: Joan Crawford/ Joan Crawford Playoff (01:05)

Tracks 15-21 – SOURCE CUES

 

TOTAL SOURCE CUES: 15:13

 

 

22. Spoiled Children (alternate) (01:01)

23. Battle Axe (alternate mix) (02:21)

Tracks 22-23 – ALTERNATE CUES

 

TOTAL ALTERNATES: 3:22

 

* not used in film

 

 

Total Duration: 00:51:00

 

 

 

 

 

 

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