Carl Davis

Composers

Biography

Born: October 28, 1936; Brooklyn, NY  
Since moving to England in the 1960s, American-born conductor/composer Carl Davis has been a leading figure in both the concert hall and in film music, carving out a unique niche in each. Born in New York City, Davis attended Bard College and later studied composition with Paul Nordoff, Hugo Kauder, and Per Nørgård. He served as a conductor with the New York City Opera and the Robert Shaw Chorale, and earned an award for his 1959 Read more off-Broadway revue Diversions (written in collaboration with Steven Vinaver). He became active in England at the outset of the 1960s with the Edinburgh Festival (where Diversions was performed in 1961), and this led to his being commissioned by producer Ned Sherrin to compose the score for the satiric television series That Was the Week That Was. The success of his work on at series led to further work on British television and, later, commissions from the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. Davis first began gaining international recognition in 1973, when he was engaged to write the score for Thames Television's landmark 26-hour documentary series The World at War, which was an immediate hit in the United States and was widely shown for decades after -- his grim, often irony-laced scoring was among the most haunting ever heard in a television series.

As a film composer, Carl Davis has worked on notable contemporary movies, most notably The French Lieutenant's Woman, which won him a British Academy Award and an Ivor Novello Award. His most unusual film work, however, has been in the authorship of new scores for such renowned silent films as the European restoration of Abel Gance's Napoleon , Ben-Hur: A Story of the Christ, Phantom of the Opera, and The Thief of Bagdad. Davis has scored more than fifty silent films, earning him the sobriquet "Mr. Silent Movie," and by 2005 Davis had scored all twelve of Charlie Chaplin's Mutual films, key early Chaplin shorts that Chaplin had not scored himself. Davis' score for Napoleon earned him the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture in 1983, and he had the privelege of returning to Napoleon when a new five-and-a-half hour long restoration was unveiled in 2005.

Since the 1970s, Carl Davis has been an active recording artist, principally as a conductor, most notably for EMI with a collection of film music by Sir William Walton and on the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's own imprint with a compilation of his own film music. In 1991, Davis assisted Paul McCartney in the composition of Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio, and subsequntly Davis led the Royal Liverpool Philarmonic's Summer Pops Concert series from 1993 to 2001. Davis has also written concert works, including a symphony, a clarinet concerto; a fantasy for flute, strings, and harpsichord; and a programmatic work entitled A Circle of Stones. Ballet is a form in which Davis is particularly productive, and his ballets include A Christmas Carol, A Simple Man, Alice in Wonderland and The Picture of Dorian Gray. Davis' ballet of Cyrano de Bergerac is slated to appear in the Spring of 2007. Though American born, in 2006 Davis was awarded an honorary CBE from the British government for his contrbutions to music. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 59 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Davis: Aladdin / Davis, Malaysian Philharmonic
    Label: Carl Davis Collection   Catalog: 29 Release Date: 09/15/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Davis
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $24.99
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  • 2.
    My First Classical Albums
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8509003 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Antonio Vivaldi,  John Adams  ... 
    Performer:  Takako Nishizaki,  Jénö Jandó,  Jürgen Schuster,  Idil Biret  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Halász,  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  Marin Alsop,  Keith Clark  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Éder String Quartet,  Danubius String Quartet,  German Wind Soloists  ... 
    CD: $48.99
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  • 3.
    Christmas 101
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002507302 Release Date: 09/23/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Traditional,  John Francis Wade,  William James Kirkpatrick  ... 
    Performer:  Sir Andrew Davis,  Simon Preston,  Harvey Alan,  David Corkhill  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks,  John Rutter,  Sir Neville Marriner,  John Eliot Gardiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $46.99
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  • 4.
    American Classics
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 556702 Release Date: 08/26/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Leonard Bernstein,  Samuel Barber,  Erich Wolfgang Korngold  ... 
    Performer:  Wayne Marshall,  Peter Donohoe,  Hélčne Grimaud,  Sabine Meyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Wayne Marshall,  Simon Rattle,  David Zinman,  Paavo Järvi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aalborg Symphony Orchestra,  London Sinfonietta,  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 5.
    For Queen And Country: Music For A Royal Celebration
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88985301152 Release Date: 06/03/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Charles H. Parry,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Roy Williamson  ... 
    Performer:  Jonathan Antonie,  Jonathan [Jonathan & Charlotte] Antoine,  Philip Rushforth,  Sol Gabetta  ... 
    Conductor:  Nick Grace,  N. J. Grace,  Richard Marlow,  Mario Venzago  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines,  Grimethorpe Colliery Band,  The Band of the Life Guards  ... 
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  • 6.
    Willard White In Concert
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1305 Release Date: 10/16/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Charles Gounod,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Willard [Bass Vocal] White,  Bonaventura Bottone,  Rob Shepley
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
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  • 7.
    Loitering Without Intent: Music For Chaplin's Mutual Films, 1916-1917
    Label: Carl Davis Collect   Catalog: 27 Release Date: 08/14/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Davis
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wihan Quartet
    CD: $15.99
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  • 8.
    Carl Davis: Harold Lloyd's An Eastern Westerner & High And Dizzy
    Label: Carl Davis Collect   Catalog: 26 Release Date: 04/14/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Davis
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Chamber Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Carl Davis: Last Train To Tomorrow
    Label: Carl Davis Collect   Catalog: 25 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Davis,  Claude-J Rouget de Lisle,  Thomas Arne
    Performer:  Martin [Baritone Vocal] Kalivoda
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
    CD: $24.99
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  • 10.
    I Don't Like Classical Music, But I Really Like This!
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 74698 Release Date: 06/17/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Carl Orff,  Richard Wagner,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Nigel Woodhouse,  Paul Meyer,  Kolja Blacher,  Eric Le Sage  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Eduardo Mata,  Gustav Kuhn,  Mark Stephenson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus  ... 
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  • 11.
    Abba For Orchestra
    Label: Carl Davis Collect   Catalog: 24 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stig Anderson,  Anni-Frid Lyngstad,  Benny Andersson,  Agnetha Faltskog
    Performer:  Dave Holmes,  Pete Callard,  Andy Vintner,  Andrew Pask  ... 
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
    CD: $15.99
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  • 12.
    La Folie Americaine! - Dvorak, Gershwin, Bernstein, Barber, Copland, Glass, Adams
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 2564634485 Release Date: 02/11/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Samuel Barber,  Philip Glass,  Aaron Copland  ... 
    Performer:  André Previn,  Hélčne Grimaud,  Richard Rodney Bennett,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn,  David Zinman,  John McGlinn,  Simon Rattle  ... 
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  • 13.
    Carl Davis: The Freshman
    Label: Threefold   Catalog: 19 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Davis
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
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  • 14.
    Carl Davis: Lady of the Camellias
    Label: Carl Davis Collect   Catalog: 23 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Davis
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech National Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $29.99
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  • 15.
    Carl Conducts... Classical Festival Favourites
    Label: Carl Davis Collect   Catalog: 20 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Jean Sibelius,  Giuseppe Verdi,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
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  • 16.
    Spirit Of England
    Label: Gift Of Music   Catalog: 1272 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Eric Coates,  Ronald Binge  ... 
    Performer:  Jon Banks,  Martin Souter
    Conductor:  Carl Davis,  Guy Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Guards Division Massed Bands
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  • 17.
    Bond For Orchestra
    Label: Carl Davis Collect   Catalog: 21 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Barry,  David Arnold,  Paul McCartney,  Bill Conti  ... 
    Performer:  Ian Thomas,  Andy Vinter,  Dave Holmes,  Andrew Pask  ... 
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
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  • 18.
    Label: Gift Of Music   Catalog: 1118 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Albert Edward Matt,  Jack Beaver  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Eric Coates,  Charles Williams,  Stanislav Gorkovenko  ... 
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  • 19.
    Classics For A Summer Evening From Leeds Castle / Carl Davis
    Label: Conifer   Catalog: 51302 Release Date: 11/22/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jeremiah Clarke,  George Frideric Handel,  Léo Delibes,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Janice Watson,  Ruby Philogene
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  King's Division Normandy Band,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir
    CD: $17.99
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  • 20.
    Movie Magic: Epics & Westerns / Carl Davis, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1934 Release Date: 10/16/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Francis Lai,  Maurice Jarre,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Carl Davis: Ballade
    Label: Carl Davis Collect   Catalog: 17 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Davis
    Performer:  Jonathan Aasgaard
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
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  • 22.
    The Music Of Upstairs Downstairs, Series 2
    Label: Carl Davis Collect   Catalog: 18 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Davis
    Performer:  Pieter Schoeman,  Nick Moss,  Gareth Griffiths,  Simon Blendis  ... 
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
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  • 23.
    Charlie Chaplin: City Lights
    Label: Carl Davis Collect   Catalog: 15 Release Date: 06/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Chaplin,  José Padilla
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
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  • 24.
    Ben Hur
    Label: Carl Davis Collect   Catalog: 14 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Miklós Rózsa
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
    CD: $16.99
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  • 25.
    My First Violin Album
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578215 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niccolň Paganini,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Jules Massenet,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Ilya Kaler,  Jénö Jandó,  Takako Nishizaki,  Caspar Frantz  ... 
    Conductor:  Kenneth Jean,  Carl Davis,  Theodore Kuchar,  Stephen Gunzenhauser  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ferenc Sánta & His Gypsy Band
    CD: $11.99
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