The French Lieutenant's Woman Concert Suite : Work information
- Carl Davis ( Music, Images,)
- Performed by
- Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Carl Davis (Conductor)
- Work name
- The French Lieutenant's Woman Concert Suite
- Work number
- 1982-00-00 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 1982 film The French Lieutenant's Woman, based on the novel by John Fowles and starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons, won a BAFTA and a Novello award for its music.
Scored for strings and two harps, Davis claimed the music aimed to "express the inner thoughts and interior life of Sarah, the leading female character". The Suite is extracted from several key moments in the film. It opens with music from the main title, music that "represents her disturbed state of mind", and continues with: the meeting on the Cobb with the her future lover; their assignation in the woods; their one night of love; and their final meeting at Lake Windermere.