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Mantovani in 1970
Mantovani in 1970
Background information
Birth nameAnnunzio Paolo Mantovani
Also known asTulio Trapani
Born(1905-11-15)15 November 1905
Venice, Veneto, Italy
Died29 March 1980(1980-03-29) (aged 74)
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England
GenresLight music
Years active1939–1980
External audio
audio icon You may hear Annunzio Mantovani conducting his Mantovani Orchestra in Elizabethan Serenade by Ronald Binge in 1971 Here on

Annunzio Paolo Mantovani (Italian: [anˈnuntsjo ˈpaːolo mantoˈvaːni]; 15 November 1905 – 29 March 1980)[1] was an Anglo-Italian conductor, composer and light orchestra-styled entertainer with a cascading strings musical signature.

The book British Hit Singles & Albums stated 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".[2]


Mantovani was born in Venice, Italy, into a musical family.[3] His father, Benedetto Paolo "Bismarck" Mantovani, was a violinist and served as the concertmaster of La Scala opera house's orchestra in Milan, under the baton of Arturo Toscanini.[3] The family moved to England in 1912,[3] where young Annunzio studied at Trinity College of Music in London. After graduation, he formed his own orchestra, which played in and around Birmingham. He married Winifred Moss in 1934, having two children: Kenneth (born 12 July 1935) and Paula Irene (born 11 April 1939). 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.[4]

He was also musical director for a large number of musicals and other plays, including Noël Coward's Pacific 1860 (1946) and Vivian Ellis's musical setting of J. B. Fagan's And So to Bed (1951).[5] After the war, he concentrated on recording, and eventually gave up live performance altogether. He worked with arranger and composer Ronald "Ronnie" Binge, who developed the "cascading strings" effect (also known as the "Mantovani sound").[6] His records were regularly used for demonstration purposes in stores selling hi-fi stereo equipment, as they were produced and arranged for stereo reproduction. He became the first person to sell a million stereophonic records.[7] In 1952, Binge ceased to arrange for Mantovani but the distinctive sound of the orchestra remained.

Mantovani recorded for Decca and London Records the US arm of the Decca Record Company, exclusively.[3] He recorded in excess of 50 albums on that label, many of which were Top 40 hits. His single tracks included "The Song from Moulin Rouge", which reached number one in the UK Singles Chart in 1953;[2] "Cara Mia" (with him and his orchestra backing David Whitfield) in 1954; "Around the World" in 1957; and "Main Theme from Exodus (Ari's Theme)" in 1960.[3] In the United States, between 1955 and 1972, he released more than 40 albums with 27 reaching the "Top 40", and 11 in the "Top Ten". His biggest success came with the album Film Encores, which attained number one in 1957.[5]

Similarly, Mantovani Plays Music From 'Exodus' and Other Great Themes made it to the Top Ten in 1961, with over one million albums sold.[5]

Mantovani starred in his own syndicated television series, Mantovani, which was produced in England and which aired in the United States in 1959. Thirty-nine episodes were filmed.[8] Mantovani made his last recordings in the mid-1970s.[9]

He died at a care home in Royal Tunbridge Wells Kent.[1] His funeral was held at the Kent and Sussex Crematorium and Cemetery on 8 April 1980.[10]

Music style and influences[edit]

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.

Author Joseph Lanza describes Mantovani's string arrangements as the most "rich and mellifluous" of the emerging light music style during the early 1950s. He stated that Mantovani was a leader in the use of new studio technologies to "create sound tapestries with innumerable strings", and that "the sustained hum of Mantovani's reverberated violins produced a sonic vaporizer foreshadowing the synthesizer harmonics of space music."[11] His style survived through an ever-changing variety of musical styles prompting Variety to call him "the biggest musical phenomenon of the twentieth century".[12]

From 1961 to 1971, David McCallum Sr was leader of Mantovani's orchestra. At this time, his son David McCallum Jr was at the height of his fame, prompting Mantovani to introduce his leader to audiences with the quip, "We can afford the father but not the son!"[13]

Mantovani is referred to by name in The Kinks song "Prince of the Punks" and Don Black and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Letter Home to England” in Tell Me on a Sunday. He also had a big influence on Brian May, Queen guitarist.[14]

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 did not want it sounding like Mantovani.[15] Martin therefore used a more classical sound, employing a string quartet.

Posthumous publishing[edit]

Much of his catalogue has reappeared on CD. There are also many compilations. A large number of CDs are available containing unauthorised recordings,[citation needed] billed as Mantovani or Mantovani Orchestra, for example the CD titled "The Mantovani Orchestra" released in 1997[16] contained a track from the 1980s Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "Cats", which would have required posthumous conducting on the part of Mantovani. There have also been CDs released under the Mantovani name of recordings made by others while Mantovani was still alive.[citation needed]

Following Mantovani's death in 1980, the Mantovani Estate continues to authorise numerous concerts worldwide and recordings using original and newly commissioned arrangements.[citation needed]



External audio
audio icon You may hear Annunzio Montovani's recording Strauss Waltzes with the Montovani Orchestra in 1958 Here on
  • A Mantovani Program, London LPB-127, 1949
  • Musical Moments, London LPB-218, 1950
  • Waltzing with Mantovani, London LPB-381, 1951
  • Strauss Waltzes, London LL 685, 1953, later re-recorded in stereo as London 118, 1958
  • The Music of Victor Herbert, London LL 746, 1953
  • An Album of Favorite Melodies, reissued as An Enchanted Evening with Mantovani, London LL 766, 1953
  • An Album of Romantic Melodies, London LL 979, 1954
  • Plays The Music of Sigmund Romberg, London LL 1031, 1954
  • Song Hits from Theatreland, London LL 1219, 1955, later re-recorded in stereo as London 125, 1959
  • Plays The Music of Rudolf Friml, London LL 1150, 1955
  • Plays The Immortal Classics, London LL 877, 1956
  • Music from the Films, London 112
  • Waltz Encores, London 119
  • Film Encores, London 124, 1957
  • Gems Forever, London 106, 1958
  • Continental Encores, London 147, 1959.
  • Film Encores, Vol. 2, London 164, 1959
  • The Music of Victor Herbert and Sigmund Romberg, London 165, 1960
  • The Music of Irving Berlin and Rudolf Friml, London 166, 1956
  • The Breeze, London, Abbey road, 1961
  • American Scene, London 182
  • Songs to Remember, London 193, 1960
  • Great Theme Music (Music from "Exodus"), London 224, 1961
  • Theme from "Carnival", London 3250, 1961
  • Themes from Broadway, London 242
  • American Waltzes, London 248
  • Moon River, London 249, 1962
  • Selections from "Stop the World – I Want to Get Off" and "Oliver", London 270
  • Latin Rendezvous, London 295
  • Manhattan, London 328, 1963
  • Folk Songs Around the World, London 360
  • The Incomparable Mantovani, London 392
  • The Mantovani Sound, London 419, 1965
  • Mantovani Olé, London 422
  • Mantovani Magic, London 448, 1966
  • Mantovani's Golden Hits, London 483, 1967
  • Mr. Music, London 474, 1966
  • Mantovani/Hollywood, London 516
  • The Mantovani Touch, London 526, 1968
  • Mantovani/Tango, London 532
  • Mantovani ... Memories, London 542
  • The Mantovani Scene, London 548, 1969
External audio
audio icon You may hear Annunzio Montovani's recording The World of Mantovani Vol. 2 with the Montovani Orchestra in 1971 Here on
  • The World of Mantovani, London 565, 1969
  • Mantovani Today, London 572, 1970
  • From Monty with Love, London 585–586, 1971
  • To Lovers Everywhere, London PS 598, 1971
  • Annunzio Paolo Mantovani, London XPS 610, 1972
  • An Evening with Mantovani, London 902, 1973
  • The Greatest Gift Is Love, London 913, 1975
  • Mantovani Magic, K-tel, NA603
  • Mantovani's Hit Parade , London 1966

Light classical music[edit]

  • Strauss Waltzes, London LL 685, 1953
  • Strauss Waltzes, London 118 1958
  • Concert Encores, London 133
  • Operetta Memories, London 202
  • Italia Mia, London 232, 1961
  • Classical Encores, London 269
  • The World's Great Love Songs, London 280
  • Mantovani in Concert, London 578

Christmas and religious music[edit]

  • Christmas Carols (mono), London LL913, 1954
  • Songs of Praise, London 245
  • Christmas Greetings, London 338
  • Christmas Carols (stereo), London PS142
  • Merry Christmas to All of You, Decca 66445009 (1963)


Year Single (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
(UK and/or US)
Chart positions Album

1951 "Bees in the Bonnet"
b/w "Carriage and Pair"
UK Non-album tracks
"Wyoming (Go to Sleep My Baby)"
b/w "Under the Roofs of Paris"
US Waltz Time
"For You"
b/w "Kisses in the Dark"
b/w "Babette"
b/w "Just for a While"
"At Dawning"
b/w "I Love You Truly"
A Collection Of Favorite Waltzes
1952 "Lovely Lady"
b/w "Mexicali Rose"
"Dancing With Tears in My Eyes"
b/w "Dear Love, My Love"
UK & US 26
"Love, Here Is My Heart"
b/w "Moonlight Madonna"
"It Happened in Monterey"
b/w "Was It a Dream"
b/w "Symphony"
UK & US An Enchanted Evening With Mantovani
& His Orchestra
"The Agnes Waltz"
b/w "Die Schonbrunner"
"Some Enchanted Evening"
b/w "Gypsy Love Waltz" (from The Music Of Victor Herbert)
"La Cumparsita"
b/w "Tango De La Luna"
UK Mantovani Plays Tangos
"Tales from the Vienna Woods"
b/w "Morning Papers"
US Strauss Waltzes
"Blue Danube"
b/w "Roses From the South"
"White Christmas"
b/w "Adeste Fideles"
UK & US 6 Christmas Carols
1953 "Gypsy Legend"
b/w "Czardas" (from An Enchanted Evening with Mantovani)
UK Non-album track
"Vienna Blood"
b/w "You and You" (from Strauss Waltzes)
"Voices of Spring"
b/w "Artist's Life" (Non-album track)
US Strauss Waltzes
"Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life"
b/w "A Kiss In The Dark"
UK & US The Music of Victor Herbert
"Love's Dream After the Ball"
b/w "Red Petticoats" (from Mantovani Plays Tangos)
US An Enchanted Evening With Mantovani
& His Orchestra
b/w "I'm Falling in Love With Someone"
The Music Of Victor Herbert
"Theme From 'The Last Rhapsody'"
b/w "Nalia Waltz (Pas Des Fleurs)"
Both tracks with Stanley Black
Non-album tracks
"Moulin Rouge Theme"
b/w "Vola Colomba"
UK & US 8 1 Romantic Melodies
"Royal Blue Waltz"
b/w "Queen Elizabeth Waltz" (from Waltz Time)
b/w "Chiquita Mia" (from Mantovani Plays Tangos)
"Prelude in C Sharp Minor"
b/w "Simple Aveu"
US Mantovani Plays the Immortal Classics
1954 "Cara Mia"
UK B: "Love, Tears and Kisses" (Non-album track)
US B: "How, When Or Where"
All sides with David Whitfield
UK & US 1 Cara Mia
"Swedish Rhapsody"
b/w "Jamaican Rhumba"
UK & US 2 Romantic Melodies
"Luxembourg Polka"
b/w "Music Box Tango"
"Shadow Waltz"
b/w "Moonlight Serenade"
b/w "Dream Dream Dream" (from Musical Modes)
UK & US Song Hits From Theatreland
"Lonely Ballerina"
UK B:"Lazy Gondolier"
US B: "You Stepped Out Of A Dream" (from Candlelight)
16 Musical Modes
1955 "We'll Gather Lilacs"
b/w "Come Back To Me" (Non-album track)
UK Romantic Melodies
"Softly, Softly"
b/w "Longing" (from Candlelight)
Non-album track
"Lazy Gondolier"
b/w "Longing" (from Candlelight)
US Musical Modes
"Our Dream Waltz"
UK B: "Ma Chere Amie" (from Musical Modes
US B: "Begin The Beguine" (from Musical Modes)
UK & US Waltz Time
"Beyond the Stars"
b/w "Open Your Heart"
Both sides with David Whitfield
8 Cara Mia
"Stranger in Paradise"
b/w "The Deserted Ballroom" (from Musical Modes)
UK Song Hits From Theatreland
b/w "Edelma"
Musical Modes
"When You Lose the One You Love"
b/w "Angelus"
Both sides with David Whitfield
UK & US 7 Cara Mia
1956 "Spring in Montmarte"
UK B: "Heart of Paris"
US B: "Candlelight"
b/w "Begin the Beguine" (from Musical Modes)
"Song of Sorrento"
UK B: "Blue Fantasy"
US B: "Valse Campestre" (Non-album track)
"Toy Shop Ballet"
b/w "Temple of Dreams"
UK Non-album tracks
1957 "Around the World"
UK B: "The Heart of Budapest" (from Gypsy Soul)
US B: "The Road To Ballingarry" (Non-album track)
UK & US 12 20 Film Encores, Vol. 2
"Mandolin Serenade"
b/w "The Spring Song"
UK Non-album tracks
"Let Me Be Loved"
UK B: "The Road to Ballingarry"
US B: "Call Of The West"
"Souvenir D'italie"
b/w "Dream Dust"
1958 "Story of Three Loves"
b/w "To My Love" (Non-album track)
US Music From The Films
"Cry My Heart" (with David Whitfield)
b/w "Dream Dust"
Non-album tracks
"Love Song from 'Houseboat""
UK B: "A Certain Smile" (from Film Encores, Vol. 2)
US B: "Almost In Your Arms" (with Vera Lynn)
"To My Love"
b/w "The Canary"
"Tulips from Amsterdam"
b/w "Only Yesterday" (Non-album track)
US Strictly Mantovani
"Come Prima"
b/w "The Canary" (Non-album track)
Continental Encores
"I Could Have Danced All Night"
b/w "This Nearly Was Mine"
UK Gems Forever
1959 "Under Paris Skies"
UK B: "Only Yesterday" (Non-album track)
US B: "Separate Tables" (from Film Encores, Vol. 2)
UK & US Continental Encores
b/w "Separate Tables"
UK Film Encores, Vol. 2
b/w "This Nearly Was Mine"
US Gems Forever
"Camptown Races"
b/w "Ring De Banjo"
The American Scene
1960 "The Orange Vendor"
b/w "In The Spring" (Non-album track)
UK Mantovani Tango
"Song Without End"
UK B: "Tania" (Non-album track)
US B: "In The Spring" (Non-album track)
UK & US Great Theme Music
"The Green Leaves of Summer"
b/w "The Party's Over" (from Strictly Mantovani)
"Theme from 'The Sundowners'"
b/w "Mine Alone" (Non-album track)
US 93
"Irma La Douce"
b/w "The Count of Luxembourg Waltz" (from Operetta Memories)
"Main Theme from 'Exodus'"
b/w "Karen"
UK & US 31
1961 "Theme from 'The Valiant Years'"
UK B: '"The Sound of Music" (from Great Theme Music)
US B: "Non Dimenticar"
UK & US Non-album tracks
"Theme from 'Rocco and His Brothers'"
b/w "Greengage Summer" (Non-album track)
US Moon River and Other Great Film Themes
"Moon River"
b/w "Sail Away" (Non-album track)
1962 "Fanny"
b/w "Nadya's Theme from 'Rocco and His Brothers'"
"Theme from 'Barabbas'"
b/w "Far Away" (Non-album track)
"Theme from 'Advise and Consent""
b/w "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" (from American Waltzes)
"What Kind of Fool Am I?"
b/w "Someone Nice Like You"
Stop the World I Want to Get Off / Oliver
"Summer Night"
b/w "Rickshaw"
UK Non-album tracks
"Love Song From 'Mutiny on the Bounty'"
b/w "Theme from 'Mutiny on the Bounty'"
1963 "A Girl Named Tamiko"
b/w "Taras Bulba"
"Take the 'A' Train"
b/w "The Bowery"
US Manhattan
1964 "Charade"
b/w "The Fall of Love" (Non-album track)
UK The Mantovani Sound-Big Hits From
Broadway and Hollywood
"I Left My Heart in San Francisco"
b/w "Return to Peyton Place" (from Moon River and Other Great Film Themes)
UK The Incomparable Mantovani
1966 "Yesterday"
b/w "Paris Lullaby" (Non-album track)
US Mr. Music
"Games That Lovers Play"
UK B: "Somewhere My Love" (Non-album track)
US B: "Ebb Tide" (from Mr. Music)
UK & US 122 Mantovani's Golden Hits
1967 "You Only Live Twice"
b/w "Puppet on a String" (from The Mantovani Touch)
UK Hollywood
1968 "Theme from 'Villa Rides'"
b/w "Willow Tree" (Non-album track)
UK & US 36 Gypsy Soul
1969 "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"
b/w "Come September"
US The Mantovani Scene
1971 "Theme from Love Story"
UK B: "Gwendolyne"
US B: "Loss Of Love"
UK & US From Monty, With Love
"All Of a Sudden"
b/w "Winter World Of Love"
US To Lovers Everywhere
1973 "Upstairs Downstairs"
b/w "Theme for a Western" (from Annunzio Paolo Mantovani)
UK An Evening With Mantovani
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released to that territory

Selected filmography[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Dead Rock Stars Club – The 1980s". Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 348. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. pp. 1610/1. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  4. ^ "Conductor Mantovani Dies after Long Illness" (1 April 1980) Pacific Stars and Stripes, Tokyo, Japan
  5. ^ a b c Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (2001) Schirmer, New York
  6. ^ Sailing By – The Ronald Binge Story (Mike Carey, 2000) ISBN 0-9530603-4-9
  7. ^ "Mantovani, Whose String Orchestras Sold Millions of Record Albums Dead at 74" (31 Mar 1980) The Boston Globe
  8. ^ Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (1964). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows (3rd ed.). New York: Ballantine. ISBN 0-345-31864-1
  9. ^ "Annunzio Mantovani World-famous conductor was bridge to classics" (31 March 1980) The Globe and Mail, Toronto
  10. ^ "Annunzio Paolo Mantovani (1905-1980)". Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  11. ^ Lanza, Joseph (2004). Elevator Music: A Surreal History of Muzak, Easy-listening, and Other Moodsong. University of Michigan Press. p. 80. ISBN 0-472-08942-0.
  12. ^ "Mantovano Dies at 74" (31 March 1980) Altoona Mirror, Altoona, Pennsylvania
  13. ^ "David McCallum, Violin, Leader". 2008. Archived from the original on 6 February 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
  14. ^ "Roger Taylor & Brian May Interview – Part 2". 25 March 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  15. ^ Cryer, Max. Love Me Tender: the Stories Behind the World's Favourite Songs. Exisle Publishing (Australia). ISBN 978-1-921497-02-5
  16. ^ "Mantovani: Complete list of all albums, Cds and LP's". Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  17. ^ a b "Mantovani and His Orchestra Top Songs". Music
  18. ^ "Mantovani". The Official Charts Company.

External links[edit]