It’s hardly happenstance that flutist James Galway is joining the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for a Ravinia Festival program Aug. 6 that pays tribute to composer Henry Mancini. “He and Hank were really good friends,” said conductor Steven Reineke. “Mancini was a flute player, and they used to play together all the time.”
In 1984, the two recorded an RCA album titled “In the Pink,” which consisted of arrangements for two solo flutes of some of Mancini’s best known creations, including the theme from “The Pink Panther” movies and “Baby Elephant Walk” from the film “Hatari!” (1962) starring John Wayne. A prolific composer of scores for films and television series, Mancini (1924-94) won four Oscars (with 18 nominations), 20 Grammys and two Emmys.
In addition, Galway and Mancini can be seen together on YouTube during a short, undated performance with the Boston Pops Orchestra in a version for two solo flutes of “Seventy-Six Trombones,” the signature song from the 1957 Broadway musical “The Music Man.”
“I have Hank’s hand-written scores for many things on this program that were written for James, and the [solo] line there says, ‘Jimmy,’” Reineke said. “They went together like hand and glove. They did a lot of shows together.”
In this CSO program, Galway will be heard as soloist in a range of works that Mancini arranged for him, including “Baby Elephant Walk”; “Speedy Gonzales” from the television series “Mr. Lucky”; “Pennywhistle Jig” from the film “The Molly Maguires” (1970), and “Cameo for James,” a tune written especially for the flutist.
Also appearing on the program will be flutist Jeanne Galway, the flutist’s wife, and vocalists Ashley Brown and Tony DeSare.
TOP: A sleeve for a single from the album “In the Pink,” recorded by James Galway and Henry Mancini for RCA.