Nate Chinen at The Current:
The music of Henry Mancini—sprawling across a forty-year filmography, written in a profusion of modes and moods—can be easy to misapprehend as the pinnacle of style over substance. It’s easy because he makes it so, enchanting generations of moviegoers with the appealing shape of his melodic line, the steady glide of his harmonic movement, and the faceted sparkle of his orchestration. Like so much of the postwar American cinema he helped bring to life, Mancini embodied a dawning age of new freedoms and anxieties, but always with a breezy air of self-possession. He worked tirelessly to make it seem as if his scores had just magically emerged, sensuous and guileless, like Botticelli’s Venus.
But Mancini’s stylistic command, with its magical balance of effortlessness and extravagance, was rarely indulged in for its own sake.