It took more than twenty years, until there appeared a soundtrack album for "The Thorn Birds". Originally, Warner wanted to issue a double LP, when the series had its first run. The budget was afterwards cut down to a single LP and finally, the album never got released. Although, "The Thorn Birds" theme appeared on numerous Mancini compilations over the years, this new Varese Sarabande album is the definite winner!
Although Henry Mancini is best known for his scores for romantic comedies ("Breakfast At Tiffany's"), he seldom, if ever, got the chance to create a symphonic romantic score. The score for "The Thorn Birds" combines symphonic elements to underscore the melodramatic events of the storyline, Mancini's unique melodic gift and the famous duclimer sound to characterize Australia's giant extension (although the camera for the series never saw Australia). Of course, the two disk set can't reproduce the underscore for eight hours of classic television, but everything that's here is pure magic. Interestingly, the producers tended to include most of Mancini's underscore, rather than the source cues (a wise decision!). In addition to the great score, the booklet includes great liners, that tell the story of the score and give you some information about its composer.
So, all I can say is: get this one! "The Thorn Birds" is far more than just the two themes that appeared on the old 45's and on various CD incarnations.