Carl Davis Obituary, Death – Carl Davis, the 86-year-old American composer and conductor who wrote soundtracks for numerous award-winning British television shows and films, has died. Davis, who is perhaps best known for the score of “The World at War,” a tremendously influential documentary series about World War II that premiered in 1973, died Thursday in Oxford of a cerebral hemorrhage, his family said in a statement. “We are so proud that Carl’s legacy will be his astonishing impact on music,” remarked the family.
“A consummate all-round musician, he was a driving force behind the reinvention of the silent movie for this generation, and he wrote scores for some of the most-loved and remembered British television dramas.” Davis began his career in New York, where he rose to notoriety as co-author of the 1959 revue “Diversions,” which won an off-Broadway Emmy.
He later moved to Britain after attending the 1961 Edinburgh Festival. Davis moved to London and quickly found himself at the center of the country’s theatre, television, and film scenes, composing for the National Theatre and The Royal Shakespeare Company. He composed music for a number of British television shows, notably the BBC’s 1995 “Pride And Prejudice.” His most well-known television work was the score for “The World at War,” which was narrated by Laurence Olivier and aired on the commercial network ITV for 26 weeks.
His gloomy theme tune set the tone for the upcoming non-sensationalist factual horror. Advertisement Davis’s most successful picture was “The French Lieutenant’s Woman,” which starred Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons and earned him a BAFTA prize, the British equivalent of an Oscar. Other prominent film credits include “Champions” (1984), starring John Hurt, and “Scandal” (1989), starring Ian McKellen and Joanne Whalley.
He also composed and reconstructed music for over 50 silent films featuring Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd, among others. He also wrote symphonic concert works and ballet soundtracks, which have been performed all over the world.