The World At War : Work information
- Carl Davis ( Music, Images,)
- Performed by
- Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Carl Davis (Conductor)
- Work name
- The World At War
- Work number
- 1973-01-01 02:00:00
- Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
- Recording date
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.
The World At War was a highly successful series produced by Thames Television. A complete history of the Second World War, narrated by Laurence Olivier, it won numerous awards. Carl Davis said the following about his title music:
"I tried to compose something tragic and human rather than grandiose. The middle section uses a march that I composed as a theme for the Germans."