Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Announcing: The Moneychangers

Intrada Records has just released a spectacular 2-CD premiere of Henry Mancini's powerhouse score for The Moneychangers, a star-studded 1976 miniseries based on a novel by Arthur Hailey. It's a sprawling saga of money, power, sex, and violence centered around the world of high finance, and Mancini rose to the occasion with more than two hours of sweeping, dynamic music. Sadly, no soundtrack was issued at the time of the series' release, and the original recordings were long thought to be lost. Nor has the production (to date) ever been issued on home video ... with the result that, with the exception of a recording of the main theme on the LP Mancini's Angels, Mancini's glorious music went all but unheard for decades. Only those who had caught the original 1976 premiere truly knew what they were missing, as later broadcasts were severely abridged and gutted much of the composer's work.

Fortunately, Douglass Fake at Intrada never forgot or gave up hope ... and eventually, he discovered that a backup recording existed from one of the trombonists who performed on the sessions. This enabled a proper soundtrack presentation at last, and I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to write the liner notes. I was helped immeasurably in this task by the kind assistance of Jon Burlingame, a professor, journalist, and author, who is known the world over as an authority on (and advocate for) music for film and television. Jon was able to provide me with extensive research and production documents, and even graciously shared never-before-published quotes from his interviews with the departed maestro.

It is impossible to be a fan of film music and not acknowledge the debt owed to Henry Mancini. His luminous musicality and tireless work ethic elevated him to a level of celebrity and visibility rarely seen in this industry. The Moneychangers arrives as one of his most important "lost" works, and I hope that his legion of followers will find it as thrilling to discover and explore as I have.

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