The music of Annunzio Mantovani lived again last night as the cascading string sound that once set hearts a flutter was re-created in all its light orchestral splendour.
Sixty years ago the Italian-born, British-based violinist, arranger, and conductor was such a huge star that in one year alone he received more than 700 proposals of marriage.
His fame would be largely eclipsed by the arrival of rock and roll but diehard fans remained loyal. One of them, Poole musician and businessmen Paul Barrett, set about replicating the maestro’s original orchestra.
Last night’s concert at the Pavilion was the seventh triumphant outing for his Magic of Mantovani Orchestra. The packed audience, some of whom had flown in specially from Switzerland, India and USA, loved every moment.
Also in the audience were the Mantovani family including the great bandleader’s son and daughter Ken and Paula. It was an appropriate venue too. Mantovani retired to Bournemouth at the end of his career and loved the town and surrounding area.
Featuring 48 musicians, conductor and host Gavin Sutherland and with Barrett himself on percussion, the King of Strings concert concentrated on the arrangements that kept Mantovani and his key musical collaborators at the top of their game as he turned his attentions to television, cinema, musical theatre and the classics.
With skill, humour and a considerable degree of panache this hand-picked orchestra led by violinist Geoffrey Allan revisited everything from Duke Ellington’s Take the A Train to Leonard Bernstein’s Tonight.
There were top soloists including trumpeter Mike Lovatt, saxophonist Nigel Ellis, accordionist Eddie Hessian and pianist Sam Hanson. While superb singers Jemma Truss and Rossana Sal were on hand to perform crowd-pleasers like Que Sera Sera, Ciao Ciao Bambina and Nessun Dorma.