MANTOVANI (1905-1980)

Annunzio Paolo Mantovani (Venice, November 15, 1905 – Royal Tunbridge Wells, March 29, 1980), known mononymously as Mantovani, was an Anglo-Italian conductor, composer and light orchestra-styled entertainer with a cascading strings musical signature.

Mantovani was born into a musical family. His father, Bismarck, served as the concertmaster of La Scala opera house’s orchestra in Milan, under the baton of Arturo Toscanini. The family moved to England in 1912, where young Annunzio studied at Trinity College of Music in London. After graduation, he formed his own orchestra, which played in and around Birmingham.

By the time World War II broke out, his orchestra was one of the most popular British dance bands, both on BBC radio broadcasts and in live performances. The cascading strings technique developed by Binge became Mantovani’s hallmark in such hits arranged by Binge as “Charmaine”. Binge developed this technique to replicate the echo experienced in venues such as cathedrals and he achieved this goal through arranging skill alone. His style survived through an ever-changing variety of musical styles prompting Variety to call him “the biggest musical phenomenon of the twentieth century”.

The book British Hit Singles & Albums states that he was “Britain’s most successful album act before the Beatles…the first act to sell over one million stereo albums and [have] six albums simultaneously in the US Top 30 in 1959”. During his lifetime, Mantovani did not always get respect from his fellow musicians.

When George Martin first suggested overdubbing Paul McCartney’s recording of Yesterday with strings, McCartney’s initial reaction, according to Martin, was that he didn’t want it sounding like Mantovani. Martin therefore used a more classical sound, employing a string quartet.

Recordings by Mantovani you can hear at Instrumentals Forever:

A Man And A Woman
A Man Without Love
A Thousand And One Nights
Acceleration Waltz
Air On The G-String
And I Love You So
April In Portugal
April Love
Around The World
Arrivederci Roma
As Long As He Needs Me
As Time Goes By
Auld Lang Syne
Autumn Leaves
Beautiful Dreamer
Besame Mucho
Blowin’ In The Wind
Born Free
Both Sides Now
By The Sleepy Lagoon
Catari Catari
Chim Chim Cher-ee
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Climb Ev’ry Mountain
Come Back To Sorrento
Come September
Cradle Song
Dear Father
Dear Heart
Deserted Shore
Elizabethan Serenade
Elvira Madigan
Embraceable You
Emperor Waltz
Everybody’s Talkin’
Eye Level
Fiddler On The Roof
Fly Me To The Moon
Fool (You Didn’t Have To Hurt Her)
For All We Know
For Once In My Life
Games That Lovers Play
Gipsy Dance from ”Carmen”
Golden Earrings
Good Morning Starshine
Hello Dolly
Hi-Lili Hi-Lo
Home On The Range
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
I Bersaglieri
I Feel Pretty
I Have Dreamed
I Left My Heart In San Francisco
I Love Paris
I Will Wait For You
I Wish You Love
If I Love You
If I Were A Rich Man
Indian Love Call
Italian Fantasy
It’s Diff’rent Now
It’s Impossible
I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face
Jamaica Farewell
La ronde
La vie en rose
Leaving On A Jet Plane
Leaving On A Jet Plane
Lemon Tree
Les bicyclettes de Belsize
Londonderry Air
Lonely Ballerina
Love Is All
Love Is Blue
Main Theme from ”Exodus”
Maria Elena
Midnight Cowboy
Mona Lisa
Moon River
My Prayer
My Way
Nessun Dorma
Nessun Dorma from ”Turandot”
Never On Sunday
O mein Papa
Our Last Affair
Over The Rainbow
Parlez-moi d’amour
Quando Caliente El Sol
Que sera sera
Return To Me
Roses From The South
Say Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose
September In The Rain
Softly As I Leave You
Some Enchanged Evening
Somewhere My Love
Song Of India
Stranger In Paradise
Summertime In Venice
Tales From The Vienna Woods
Tarantella – O Sole Mio – A Frangesa – Santa Lucia – Maria Mari – Funiculi Funicula
The Blue Danube
The Carousel Waltz
”The Count Of Luxembourg” Waltz
The Donkey Serenade
The Most Beautiful Girl In The World
The ”Moulin Rouge” Theme
The Shadow Of Your Smile
The Sweetest Sounds
The Windmills Of Your Mind
The Yellow Rose Of Texas
Theme from ”Capriccio Italien”
Theme from ”Limelight”
Theme from ”Romeo And Juliet”
Theme from ”Swan Lake”
This Is My Song
Those Were The Days
Three Coins In The Fountain
Tie A Yellow Ribbon
Treasure Waltz
True Love
Try To Remember
Tulips From Amsterdam
Unchained Melody
Up Up And Away
Variations On Carnival Of Venice
Village Swallows Waltz
Vissi d’Arte from ”Tosca”
Voices Of Spring
Wand’ring Star from ”Paint Your Wagon”
What Kind Fool Am I
When I Fall In Love
Who Can I Turn To
Wine Women And Song
Without Love (There Is Nothing)
You Only Live Twice
Zorba’s Dance