Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2024 January 08 • Monday

A new release of a Henry Mancini soundtrack! And it's from the 1960s!

Moment to Moment has to be the 812th Soundtrack of the Week.

It has a great main title theme, starting with trumpet and then introducing a John Barry-ish chromatic structure with guitar and rhythm section. A chorus comes in with the lyrics, which are fine, but I prefer this piece as an instrumental.

The "'Moment to Moment' Prologue" begins somewhat eerily with long string tones and electric guitar picking at single notes repeatedly with lots of reverb, the whole thing sounding somewhat like Morricone in experimental mode. Then it switches to a "modern" section for woodwinds, going in and out of dissonance, before returning to how it started.

A gently lilting piece with nice use of piano and featuring the accordion, "The Flower Stalls", comes next.

Beautiful solo acoustic guitar takes the listener more than halfway through "Daphne Drops In" before strings and harp come flowing in at the end. The very last note sounds like it might have been played on piano.

"Chicken Salad" and "First Goodbye/Invitation" are both reprises of the main title theme, the first being another achingly lovely acoustic guitar solo and the second a classic Mancini piano and strings combination at first, soon with the addition of electric guitar and harp.

Then we swing into what might be a samba for the accordion-driven "Hotel Terrace".

The main theme returns for "On the Road", which starts with a very dramatic orchestral introduction and then alternates between that full-bodied approach and sections that feature the accordion as a solo voice. It has a dance rhythm as well, not bossa nova or cha cha but something in that neighborhood. The chorus returns again but this time singing wordlessly.

Another piano and accordion number, a brisk minor-key waltz called "Mougins", gets things moving before another reprise of the main theme in "Pier Parting".

A simple electric guitar chord with a gorgeous tremolo sound announces the beginning of "Missing Mark", with buzzing strings, lonely sustained piano notes and what sounds like a second, prepared piano creating very exciting sonorities.

I thought "Beach Party" might get us a surf tune but it's a loungey version of the main theme. This is followed by a slower version of the same piece, for "Gallery Montage".

Acoustic guitar starts off "Stormy Romance", soon joined by saxophone and the rest of the orchestra for another version of the main theme.

"Pick It Up/Help" starts with some ominous low tones and suspenseful, "modern" string writing. A piano chord stops the strings and solo trumpet comes in, soon joined by cello and then eventually harp and viola or violin, all playing melodically around each other before returning to more of a horror movie mood and ending on a suggestion of the main theme.

A more subdued feeling of suspense is created in "Scene of the Crime", which also makes use of the main theme's shapem while "Passport" is pure tension, again with piano chords providing final punctuation.

Then there's a return to a cheerier mood that settles into a more bluesy and pensive sound for "Homecoming".

A stripped down version of "Missing Mark" comes next for "Mark's Return/Something Clicks" and the same buzzing strings and electric guitar stick around for "More in Mougins".

"Flower Stalls Dance" is a slower take on "The Flower Stalls" and "Moment to Moment Dance" is the main theme with violin and accordion as the featured voices.

Following this comes the very atmospheric and unsettling "The Missing Piece", with great use of space, letting a few instruments do just the right amount of work in just the right places.

Moody dramatic underscore with nice vibraphone playing gives us "Mark Remebers", which quotes the main theme. That theme returns for "The Terrace and End Title ('Moment to Moment')" and again in its vocal version for "'Moment to Moment' End Cast".

The CD concludes with alternate takes of "The Flower Stalls" and "Hotel Terrace", plus a beautiful duo guitar version of the main theme.