Pride & Prejudice : Work information

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

This work

Work name
Pride & Prejudice
Work number
1995-01-01 02:00:00

This recording

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Recording date

Track listing

  • 3:49 min


The BBCs adaption of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice was a huge hit in 1995, not least because of Carl Davis's music. As the composer recalled, it "dealt with a time and a society in which,  before the days of television and the gramophone, people indulged in home entertainment on a colossal scale...every well-educated young lady was expected to learn to perform as part of her social training. I decided therefore to use the sound of an instrument they would have played, the fortepiano, which was featured throughout the series. Since then I have created a concert piece...using a modern piano, and which I think I like equally. The thought at the back of my mind was that this was a story about pursuit -  the pursuit of a husband, and the pursuit of wealth."

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.