Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2014 November 03 • Monday

That there was more to Henry Mancini than the famous "Mancini sound" is demonstrated quite persuasively by our 343rd Soundtrack of the Week, Mancini's music for Nightwing.

It starts with a beautifully dreamy section for harps and strings, actually a bit similar, I think, to the beginning of a Radiohead song to come decades later. Then a flute melody comes in, followed by unison horns adding some darkness to the sunny soundscape.

The story of the movie is about thousands of bubonic plague-infected vampire bats that are terrorizing an Indian reservation. Mancini seems to have used some Native American instruments, perhaps the aforementioned flute, which plays the most prominent role in the score.

While there are some tense and frightening passages for the attacking bats and other action-centered scenes, in general the music is ethereal, dreamy and beautiful, meditative in places. This is one of Mancini's best, though it seems never to come up in any discussion of his work.