by: Henry Mancini
Visions of Eight remains one of the more intriguing curios in the Henry Mancini canon. Summoned to score a composite documentary spotlighting the historic 1972 Munich Olympics as seen through the eyes of eight different filmmakers, Mancini eschewed the rousing dramatics and epic orchestration one commonly associates with sports-themed projects, instead favoring the jazzy, easy listening sensibility that dominates his music of the period. Mancini's themes celebrate the humanity of the Olympians as much as their athletic achievements. It's telling that the most memorable melody, "Theme for the Losers," overflows with emotions spanning from sorrow to hope but avoids the clichés associated with both victory and defeat. The exquisite "Ludmilla's Theme" and the infectious "Pretty Girls" similarly avoid the tried and true. Only the big-band-inspired "Salute to Olympians" embraces the pageantry and scale you'd expect.