Film Music Review
The Sammy awards








Film Music: World at War






Music composed and conducted by Carl Davis.

27 Tracks (Playing Time = 74:41)



Album produced by James Fitzpatrick. Score performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Recorded at Barrandov Smecky Soundstage, Prague, August 2003. Recording engineered by John Luard Termperley. Music edited and mastered by Gareth Williams, SRT, Cambridge. Original WWII recordings mastered by Gareth Williams, SRT, Cambridge.

Carl Davis Collection

Rating: ****


Through Carl Davis’ private label we receive this essential re-compilation of music from this 1973/74 British TV series. The present CD is a bit of a memento for those recognizing the 70 th anniversary of many important early events of what became World War II.

This is a straight re-issue of Silva’s 2004 recording which celebrated the 30 th anniversary of the television series. That release is still generally available (at least here in the states). Davis’ music for this amazing historical series stands well amidst the many popular songs of the 1930s and 1940s with engaging thematic writing. The performances here were recorded with the City of Prague Philharmonic under the composer’s direction and they provide a warm and powerful series of performances that are spread out on the CD. The release’s strong point is the way it is sequenced with key speeches by Chamberlain, Montgomery, and Churchill setting the general historical context for some of the original and source material which surrounds them. Most cues run around 2 minutes though a more extensive collection of music, “ France Falls,” is an amazing suite-length piece featuring great solo sax work with strings and organ, and a sound reminiscent of Poulenc and Francaix. The score work throughout tends to insert a little jazzy reminiscing along the way to great effect in places like “G.I. Blues.” There is much to enjoy in the nearly 40 minutes that appears here.

As a complete listening experience, this release has a lot to recommend itself with off-the-beaten path popular music from the likes of Gracie Fields, Arthur Askey, Lale Anderson, Irving Berlin (!) and other unusual selections that only show slight age (none of it distracting) akin to hearing a cleaned up 78 rpm recording. The realization and equalization of these period recordings is very well done. Each of the score selections are richly-recorded and are among the composer’s finest music.

If you already own the Silva disc, there is likely little to be gained by replacing it with this one. Even the booklet appears to be a redesigned edited version of the original liner notes as done by Silva’s James Fitzpatrick.

--Steven A. Kennedy , 2 March 2010

Comments regarding this review can be sent to this address:



Please help support

Film Music Review

Use this handy Search Box for your purchases...


  Enter keywords...

Film Music Review (Home Page)

Return to top of page



A Guide to Film Music (4th edition)








© 2010 PineTree Productions. All Rights Reserved.