Eagle of Destiny from 'Napoleon' : Work information

Carl Davis ( Music, Images,)
Performed by
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Carl Davis (Conductor)

This work

Work name
Eagle of Destiny from 'Napoleon'
Work number
1980-00-00 02:00:00

This recording

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Recording date

The Composers

Carl Davis

Famous and highly acclaimed for his television and film music, Carl Davis also has a career as a conductor, often of his own works. He has composed theatre music, working extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, ballet scores, an opera, and orchestral works.

Born in Brooklyn, New York on 28 October 1936, he attended the New England Conservatory of Music and Bard College, studying composition under Paul Nordoff and Hugo Kauder. Further study followed with Per Nørgård in Copenhagan, where he also worked with the Royal Danist Ballet.

In 1961, following the success of his off-Broadway revue Diversions, Davis moved to England, writing the music for the landmark satirical television series That Was the Week that Was. Film and television work has since flooded in, and his scores include: The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981, for which he won a BAFTA and an Ivor Novello award); Napoleon (1980, for Abel Gance's silent film); Pride and Prejudice (1995); and, most famously, The World at War (1974) .

Much of Davis's music reinterprets existing musical styles, even re-using themes of Tchaikovsky in his 1995 ballet Alice in Wonderland, and appeals to a wide public. He collaborated on Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio in 1991 and continues to conduct all over the world, often programming deliberately popular music.

Carl Davis's permanent home is now in London. He is married to actress Jean Boht, and they have two daughters.

Track listing

  • 3:47 min


"Abel Gance's magnificent five-hour Napoleon was a 'lost' film until its authoritative restoration by Kevin Brownlow. By 1980 he had accumulated nearly five hours of material and in that form was  mounted at The London Film Festival, complete with a new score that was partly original and partly drawn from the works by composers of Napoleon's own period. Occasionally, Gance created imagery that was simply too romantic for a period score, and it was in response to those particular moments that I composed my own music. The Eagle motif goes through the whole film as a symbol of Napoleon's determination. "