December 18, 1995 12:00 PM

Henry Mancini

It’s hard to talk about Mancini and keep numbers out of the conversation: The Juilliard-trained pianist and alumnus of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, scored some 80 movies (among them Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Victor I Victoria), around 20 TV programs and released more than 80 albums. He won four Oscars and had to find shelf space for 20 Grammys. Okay, so quantity has been well established. Quality is a more complicated issue. Mancini who died last year at age 70 composed some richly melodic songs chief among them “Moon River,” “Days of Wine and Roses” and the jaunty theme from The Pink Panther. But too many the theme from Romeo & Juliet springs to mind—have a bland facile romanticism This compilation meant as a tribute does Mancini no favor The syrupy melodies and string-heavy arrangements, heard one after another, have a sameness—the aural equivalent of a big box of soft-centered chocolates. (RCA)

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