"The American Scene" - Mantovani and his orchestra
In 1967 T. A. McEwen, head of Classical Music at Decca in London, named three artists to whom he believed the company had a »moral obligation«: Ernest Ansermet, Renata Tebaldi, and Mantovani.It may well be today that other names ought to be included in the list. However, it cannot be denied that in the early days of the Decca Record Company these three artists - like no others - made an immense contribution towards the company's market position and to its musical identity in particular.Annunzio Mantovani was born in the traditionally musical city of Venice in 1905. At the age of only 23 he was director of the Hotel Metropole's own orchestra in London, and it was with this orchestra that he made his first recordings. It took 20 years, however, for him to become a world-famous star. The final breakthrough of the 'Mantovani Sound' came in 1951 with his waltz "Charmaine" which was produced for the American market.This sound was utterly different from that of other entertainment orchestras at that time. Mantovani created such a lush and intense violin sound that that critics believed it was the result of recording tricks - an assumption that Mantovani easily disproved with his numerous concerts.The album "The American Scene" demonstrates the whole spectrum of one of the 20th century's most genial arrangers : "I Dream Of Jeanny" is a wonderful exemple of the truly remarkable strings which is counterbalanced by such numbers as the sparkling "Camptown Races" for example. Arranging folk songs for large orchestra can be somewhat perilous in that they easily become insignificant but Mantovani is in no danger of this: the 'wall of sound' which he created with his orchestra is far too fascinating for that.One Canadian critic once wrote very pertinently: »If stars were sparkling in the eyes of 10,000 people last night, then it was all due to Mantovani!« Surely there is no better way to describe his music.