The 10th anniversary of American film and television scoring titan Henry Mancini's passing was marked by the US Postal Service issuing a commemorative stamp in conjunction with a gala tribute concert hosted by Julie Andrews and astronaut-senator John Glenn. But for Mancini buffs, this previously unreleased double-disc soundtrack for the massively successful 1983 ABC-TV miniseries (second in viewership only to Roots
) will seem a more gratifying tribute to the American pop music icon's enduring legacy. Novelist Colleen McCullough's grand soap opera about a priest caught up in a forbidden Australian outback-rooted romance eventually sprawls over five decades and half the globe, but Mancini skillfully keeps its emotional core focused via some of the most subtly romantic and elegantly understated writing of his career. His sublime melodic gifts yield the memorable Drogheda and Maggie themes, the former's portrayal of the vast Australian wilderness ingeniously carried at first by but a lone dulcimer, while the latter perfectly underpins the story's budding romance with tinges of bittersweet melancholy. -- Jerry McCulley
20 years later, this star-studded saga (Richard Chamberlain, Barbara Stanwyck, Christopher Plummer ) is still the second-highest-rated TV miniseries ever. What's amazing, though, is that no soundtrack LP came out, even though this epic featured some of Henry Mancini's best-loved themes. This 2-CD set rights that wrong-prepare to revisit the Outback and enjoy the LONG-overdue release of this beautiful Mancini score!