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  Conductors: Carl Davis - Reviews
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Napoléon‚ Abel Gance‚ BFI Film
Little White Lies (November 2016)


' The film’s mid-section burns slowly‚ but its climax – scored to Carl Davies’ rhapsodic fanfare – is the sort of cinema which stops the blood in your veins and draws the tears from your eyes.'

Napoléon‚ Abel Gance‚ BFI Film
The Observer (November 2016)


'Gance floats his camera on water‚ even underwater at one point. His strikingly dense and complex mise en scène is complemented by a superb orchestral score by Carl Davis...'

Napoléon‚ BFI Film Screening
Silent London (September 2016)


'And the score. The score is L. O. U. D. This is not the sound of sitting in the pricey seats‚ it’s more like being at the heart of the orchestra pit‚ with the music assailing you on all sides. And such magestic‚ heroic music‚ you could close your eyes and be swept along on a tide of French patriotism‚ were it not a crying shame to miss out on Gance’s multifaceted vision. At full pelt‚ this film still feels modern and pioneering: like it is trying out a new kind of cinema to see if it fits.'

Ben Hur‚ The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
The Reviews Hub (May 2016)


'The moods evoked by the music perfectly match the action and‚ while the music does not try to synchronise with every blink and gesture‚ it does complement the action effectively. And Davis the maestro is at the centre making sure that synchronicity is complete like a latter-day Prospero orchestrating the great storm in The Tempest. '

Napoléon‚ Mojo/Holland Festival
Bachtrack (June 2014)


'From the moment the Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra began its marathon to the touching afterword by the film’s editor and curator Kevin Brownlow‚ the performance combined a dazzling piece of cinema with a superlatively arranged score by Davis‚ who effortlessly synthesized contemporaneous symphonies by Beethoven and Mozart with his own original themes into a resounding pastiche score that spans all five and a half hours of film. This event‚ part of the Holland Festival and previously hosted in San Fransisco and London‚ was a rare opportunity to experience the sublime.'

Napoléon‚ Mojo/Holland Festival
Bachtrack (June 2014)


'Besides the masterful arrangement of symphonic works‚ Davis also composed large pieces of new music for the film. While lacing the score with Beethoven‚ Mozart‚ and Gossec‚ Davis creates remarkable‚ original themes for important characters in the film. Though not as exquisite as Beethoven or Mozart‚ these themes transition naturally between the symphonic arrangements. Perhaps anachronistic for the music in Napoleon’s time‚ these early Romantic themes composed for both Josephine and a majestic eagle (symbolizing Napoleon)‚ reminded me of‚ dare I say it‚ Wagner’s leitmotifs! Davis weaves these musical aspects together elevating the entire work to the heights of French‚ Romantic‚ sweeping grand opera. This was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.'

Napoléon‚ Mojo/Holland Festival
De Volkskrant (June 2014)


'The Holland Festival in the colossal poptemple Ziggo Dome‚ one certainly doesn’t expect that. The mega space opened their ports for the colossal unfinished masterpiece ’Napoleon’‚ by cineast Abel Gance‚ accompanied by the Gelders Orkest with as conductor the composer
himself: Carl Davis. The masses streamed inside to attend a cinephile experience on a megalomanic projection screen. A unique spectacle which you will not encounter so soon again
'

Napoléon‚ Mojo/Holland Festival
Het Parool (June 2014)


'
From the 56 productions the opera ’Orlando’‚ directed by Pierre Audi‚ was chosen as the public’s favourite‚ together with the monster project ’Napoleon’‚ the silent movie from 1927 by Abel Gance.
'

The Freshman (new DVD and BluRay from Criterion Collection)
DVD Talk (March 2014)


'The new score by Carl Davis‚ presented in a LPCM 2.0 track‚ is an improvement over the previous DVD track by Robert Israel‚ as the feel aligns better with the mood of the movie. The ensemble comes across strongly‚ but with appropriate separation for the instruments‚ while the overall track has just the right power for the film‚ especially during the big football game. A quality presentation.'

Napoléon‚ Philharmonia Orchestra‚ Royal Festival Hall London
Lou Reviews.wordpress.com (December 2013)


'The Royal Festival Hall‚ all day yesterday‚ showed for the third time since 2000 the full five and a half hour restoration of Gance’s film which has represented nearly fifty years of dedication and work by Kevin Brownlow‚ bringing together elements thought to be long lost‚ assembling them in the right order by means of consultation of a shooting script which has survived through the years‚ and presenting the finished work with a score by Carl Davis which mixes original themes with borrowings and arrangements from a range of classic composers to provide an emotional punch which really cannot be equalled as a cinematic experience... the climactic music of the Davis score‚ is the last word in patriotism... The standing ovation this screening received last night was a tribute to him just as much as for Photoplay and Brownlow‚ and for Carl Davis and the Philharmonia Orchestra. The greatest film ever made? Perhaps – perhaps not. But as a cinematic experience‚ and an example of live silent cinema‚ it cannot be equalled'

Napoléon‚ Philharmonia Orchestra‚ Royal Festival Hall London
SilentLondon.co.uk (December 2013)


'My eyes and ears are still adjusting back to normality. Yesterday’s screening of Abel Gance’s Napoléon at the Royal Festival bombarded the senses and befuddled the brain. It was not‚ as you may have been warned‚ a marathon. The five-hours-forty-minutes running time appears to go by in a flash‚ powered along by Carl Davis’s invigorating orchestral score. I would happily watch it all again tomorrow and the next day... It’s a monument to patriotism of course‚ but in the RFH last night‚ our awe at the work of Gance‚ of Brownlow and of Davis‚ rekindled our devotion not to a country but to the cinematic arts. A magnificent monstrosity‚ Napoléon offers refined beauty‚ raw thrills and a thousand and one reasons to adore the cinema'

Napoléon‚ Philharmonia Orchestra‚ Royal Festival Hall London
The Times (December 2013)


'It’s only a movie‚ Ingrid. Those were the words that Alfred Hitchcock used with Ingrid Bergman and other stars who took their acting too seriously. Most films are indeed only movies‚ but not Abel Gance’s Napoléon. More than five hours in the unravelling‚ performances of Gance’s silent French epic of 1927 have become a ritual experience‚ almost religious‚ where audiences worship a force far beyond Napoleon himself. It’s the force of cinema roaming wild and free‚ untrammelled by dialogue‚ matched to live music surging ahead with its own expressive power. Carl Davis created his score in 1980 for Kevin Brownlow’s initial Photoplay Productions restoration‚ and the choices he made then — ample quotes from Beethoven and company‚ threaded with tremulous themes of his own — still seem inspired. The Philharmonia‚ under Davis’s baton‚ grew more lustrous as the hours passed. I particularly relished the scoring’s changing colours‚ from rustic basset horn and plangent cello to obstinate hurdy-gurdy and exquisite string quartet'

Safety Last! [Blu-Ray DVD]
Bayflicks.net (June 2013)


'The full orchestra score was composed and conducted by Carl Davis in 1989‚ and presented in the original two-track stereo mix. I love Davis’ work and this score lived up to my expectations. As befits the urban 1920s setting‚ the music is upbeat and jazzy‚ and always matches and enhances the onscreen scene'

Safety Last! [Blu-Ray DVD]
Blu-Ray.com (June 2013)


'Safety Last! can be viewed with two different scores. The first is Carl Davis’ 1989 orchestral score...Carl Davis’ score sounds great - there is an excellent range of nuanced dynamics and depth and clarity are terrific. The sound is also consistently crisp. Gaylord Carter’s score is a bit more subdued‚ lacking the oomph and clarity of Carl Davis’ score'

Safety Last! [Blu-Ray DVD]
DVD Beaver.com (June 2013)


'You can have the 2.0 channel score by composer Carl Davis from 1989‚ synchronized and restored under his supervision and presented in uncompressed stereo or an alternate score by organist Gaylord Carter from the late 1960s. I tested both but stuck with the more robust Davis score. Both sounded crisp with a appropriately tinnier high-end. Sweet and authentic'

Safety Last! [Blu-Ray DVD]
Rope of Silicon.com (June 2013)


'Carl Davis’ 1989 score is the default audio track and it is bright and boisterous as the film begins and maybe I just wasn’t ready for such clarity from a 1923 film‚ though when I switched over to Gaylord Carter’s 1960 organ score I quickly bounced back to Davis’'

James Bond‚ Rochester Philharmonic USA
Rochester City News (February 2013)


'Guest conductor Carl Davis‚ anything but undercover in flashy attire‚ including a bedazzled Union Jack vest‚ led the RPO through more than two dozen musical numbers from the Bond catalogue. Starting with John Barry’s theme from 1962’s "Dr. No" and building to Adele’s award-winning title song from 2012’s "Skyfall‚" Davis gave the audience a crash course in Bond-ology‚ tracing the iconic spy in his film adventures. Davis imparted little bits of information about the actors who played the role‚ as well as the musicians and composers who have been involved in scoring the series over the decades'

James Bond 50th Anniversary Concert‚ Royal Festival Hall
The Times (November 2012)


'Those versatile singers‚ Mary Carewe and Lance Ellington‚ did sterling work alongside the Philharmonia. Carl Davis — who strode out in a Union Jack waistcoat — was his usual pixie-ish self on the podium. Who knows‚ the pieces may well fit together more snugly when the concert is broadcast.
The inevitable problem with a chronological journey is that‚ once you get past Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager’s tongue-in-cheek collaboration on Nobody Does It Better‚ the quality control becomes variable‚ to say the least. Duran Duran’s A View to a Kill was one of several low points after the interval. The first half was a treat‚ none the less. While nobody could fill Shirley Bassey’s shoes on Goldfinger‚ and the drums were pushed forward in the mix‚ John Barry’s orchestration still soared. And it was well worth being reminded that‚ though the Sixties version of Casino Royale was a train wreck‚ it still gave us Burt Bacharach’s The Look of Love.
Blackman’s links were witty but light on background information. For that‚ you have to turn to Jon Burlingame’s newly published book The Music of James Bond‚ which explores‚ for instance‚ the tangled legal dispute over Thunderball. Towards the close‚ there was a pleasant surprise when Carewe‚ Ellington and the orchestra joined forces to breathe life into the much-ridiculed theme from Quantum of Solace. And even if the phrase “best Bond ever” is the most ludicrous PR phrase of the year‚ Adele’s Skyfall does at least contain echoes of the golden age.'

Ben Hur‚ Liverpool Philharmonic
Liverpool Daily Post (October 2012)


'...the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra provided the background score and quite an event it was‚ too. Conducted by the score’s composer‚ Carl Davis‚ the orchestra brought the film to life. Most notable were the two climaxes either side of the intermission – the battle scene and the chariot race – where the full force of the Philharmonic brass added a chilling aura to the overall effect. In the race‚ the stereo timpani added mightily. Davis’s score‚ now 23 years old‚ sounded fresh and having the composer in charge meant that‚ for the most part‚ the special effects actually coincided with the action on screen'

Ben Hur‚ Royal Festival Hall
Classical Source.com (June 2012)


'In many ways the score to Ben-Hur is as strong and resplendent as the movie itself. Written for a large orchestra – beautifully played by the Philharmonia Orchestra in full flow…the integrity of the score shines forth...Davis does a wonderful job in capturing the feelings inherent in each scene; tenderness‚ exoticism‚ fury‚ excitement‚ grandeur. The film itself has all these requirements to fulfil...The two big action scenes cover the sea-fight between the Romans and the pirates and‚ of course‚ the famous Chariot Race. Both are notable events in the history of the cinema...Davis depicts the action with such polish and professional pride that Lillian Gish would be heartbroken to see the film today without music. Above all Carl Davis’s work assists the movie’s ambition to stir the mind and the heart. What a film‚ what a score'

Ben Hur‚ Royal Festival Hall
MusicOMH.com (June 2012)


'Ben Hur is just the third of more than thirty scores which composer/conductor Carl Davis has written to accompany silent films. Although it was written as far back as 1987‚ the music still has enough power and originality to impress. Like the 1925 film epic it was written for‚ Ben Hur is composed on a huge scale. The eighty-two players of the Philharmonia Orchestra crammed the Royal Festival Hall stage‚ with a large (though not enormous) silver screen displaying the film behind them. Under Davis’ exacting direction‚ their timing was impressive. Each musical and cinematic scene unfolded with near perfect precision‚ and certain sound effects — cracking whips and chariot crashes‚ for example — came in right on cue. Even the odd split-second miss added to the authenticity of the silent era cinematic experience. The score itself is more than a mere aural accompaniment. Davis weaves a two hour symphonic poem out of distinct musical themes for the principal characters and their struggles. The biblical scenes‚ which include Christ’s birth‚ sermons and final crucifixion‚ are built on a Lutheran chorale which was also quoted in works by Mendelssohn and Wagner. Grand set pieces‚ like the Roman naval battle and the famous chariot race around the arena in Antioch are appropriately grand and energetic…shades of Strauss’ Salome in the swankily exotic feasting scene; and plaintive organ solos during the New Testament tableaux…The enthusiastic reception of the audience bodes well for the South Bank’s next outing at the silent cinema next year‚ when Davis and the Philharmonia will present the 1924 classic The Thief of Bagdad'

Last Train to Tomorrow‚ Halle Orchestra
City Life.co.uk (June 2012)


'To see the world premiere of a new work greeted by a standing ovation from the entire hall is a rare experience. Most new orchestral-choral music is heard by a handful of anoraks and gets polite appreciation at best. But they hit on something very special when they asked Carl Davis to write a 40-minute work for the Hallé Children’s Choir (pictured right) and Hallé Orchestra. And he is a master at delivering effective‚ appealing music that fits its specification precisely. Last Train To Tomorrow tells the story of the Kindertransport of 1938-9 – the near-miraculous evacuation of about 10‚000 Jewish children from Europe to England by train to escape the Nazi threat. It’s a sequence of songs for children’s soloists and chorus‚ and spoken lines from young actors (from Manchester Metropolitan School of Theatre School of Theatre) with orchestral accompaniment. Hiawyn Oram has created a superb piece of writing for Davis to provide music to – powerful in its simplicity‚ directness and truthfulness. Under David Shirley’s direction it became a deeply emotional experience in the Bridgewater Hall performance. The Hallé Children’s Choir members’ performance was way above anything you might justifiably expect‚ and I hope they’ll remember what they achieved on Sunday for the rest of their lives'

Last Train to Tomorrow‚ Hallé Orchestra
Arts Desk.com (June 2012)


'The exceptionally moving and heartwarming story of more than 10‚000 mostly Jewish children being brought to the safe haven of these shores between December 1938 and September 1939 to rescue them from being victims of the Holocaust‚ Kindertransport‚ has oft been told. But now we hear it afresh through the voices of children in a dramatised re-telling. The coincidence of composer Carl Davis’s interest in this extraordinary experience and the Halle’s desire to commission new work for their children’s choir has resulted in Last Train to Tomorrow...It was an occasion to remember culminating in a powerful and hypnotic 45-minute evening that moved its audience to tears (full article; http://www.theartsdesk.com/classical-music/last-train-tomorrow-halle-davis-bridgewater-hall-manchester)'

Napoleon‚ Paramount Theatre‚ Oakland‚ California
Financial Times (March 2012)


'But maybe the greatest gift of this Napoleon is the opportunity for American audiences at last to hear music that is fully the equal of the powerful images it accompanies. Carl Davis conducts the Oakland East Bay Symphony in a spirited account of his stamina-challenging score‚ which‚ like Brownlow’s restoration‚ has grown over the years'

Wild Wild West‚ Hallé Orchestra
Oldham Chronicle (December 2011)


'The Wild Wild West‚ Bridgewater Hall‚ Manchester. The Halle Orchestra took a canter through the ages of the Western in yesterday’s latest concert from its pops series. Aimed at encouraging new audiences to its concerts‚ as well as entertaining firm fans‚ this magnificent set of musicians gave tune to some of the best-known tracks from some of the most popular films to grace both the big screen and TV. New-York born conductor Carl Davies led the Halle at a cracking pace as it galloped through hits from the Westerns spanning more than seven decades'

Carl’s War (CD)
BBC Music Magazine (May 2011)


'Incidental music doesn’t come much more accomplished than this. Car Davis has always had an enviable knack for matching music to pictures‚ and this CD will trigger sharp visual images in what I suspect is the target audience: those who remember these TV films and documentaries‚ all concerned with World War II......... it’s lovingly played............*****'

Chaplin
Nottingham Evening Post (March 2005)


'If you want to see the funniest boxing match in the history of film‚ or discover just how many jokes can be extracted from a prison-escape chase sequence‚ then rush to the next venue at which The Fugitive‚ City Lights‚ and Carl Davis will be casting their magic spell '

Harold Lloyd: Safety Last
Birmingham Evening Mail (November 2003)


'The latest visit by Carl Davis for a screening of the Harold Lloyd comedy‚ ‘Safety Last’ was yet another triumph'

Buster Keaton’s: The General
Kuala Lumpur (January 2003)


'Davis’s wonderfully written score worked so well with the images that the audience soon became unaware of the orchestra sitting beneath the suspended screen. Lost in the magic of the moment and buoyed by the music‚ time flew by for those watching‚ testament once more to the amazing skills of Maestro Carl Davis'

A Christmas Carol: Ballet
(January 0)


'A sumptuous parcel of theatre‚ music and ballet...this ballet tells the story of Scrooge’s transformation from mealy-mouthed skinflint to the most famous champion of Christmas spirit'

A Christmas Carol: Ballet
(January 0)


'The only bad news‚ bah‚ humbug‚ is that the week is a sellout!'

A Christmas Carol: Ballet
Belfast (January 0)


'So brilliantly authentic was the whole presentation from scenery to costumes and casting that the audience were moved to a standing ovation'

A Christmas Carol: Ballet
Hull Daily Mail (January 0)


'As the snow gently fell on Victorian Christmas shoppers on stage and the music of Carl Davis swelled the auditorium‚ the audience at the opening of NBT’s A Christmas Carol knew they were in for a treat...the original score by Carl Davis is interlaced with Christmas music and carols which‚ unusually for a ballet‚ includes vocals‚ and the whole thing ends in a rousing affirmation of peace on earth to all men. If this Christmas Carol fails to fill you with festive spirit‚ you might as well say ‘Bah Humbug’ to Christmas forever'

A Christmas Carol: Ballet
Yorkshire Evening Post (January 0)


'Choreographed to enchanting perfection (by the late Christopher Gable) it lifts the spirits and evokes all we tend to forget about the point of midwinter festivities...Such a welcome antidote to pantomime‚ such a wonderful way to spent an evening; such a celebration of the true spirit of Christmas – made all the more magic by Carl Davis’s music...A roaring ovation was well deserved. Don’t dare miss it!'

Alice in Wonderland: Ballet
(January 0)


'There nothing curiouser and curiouser’ about English National Ballet’s Alice in Wonderland. ‘Charming’ and delightful’ were words used by the audiences'

Alice in Wonderland: Ballet
Sunday Telegraph (January 0)


'The first great advantage of Derek Deane’s Alice in Wonderland is its glorious score. Carl Davis has arranged music by Tchaikovsky which could easily have been a disaster; bits and pieces of Tchaikovsky pasted together‚ uneasily cohabiting in a mish-mash of uneasy alliances. Carl’s music is nothing of the kind. Indeed‚ it sounds exhilaratingly close to the fourth ballet we would al have wanted Tchaikovsky to compose. It must rank among the best arrangements of music for ballet anywhere and is going to be a constant source of pleasure and a remarkably good reason for visiting this ballet again and again. There is one crucial element in the three other Tchaikovsky ballet classics: the audience recognises the main melodies as soon as it hears them – there is that shock of recognition‚ that comfortable settling back and preparing for known pleasures. Davis has cleverly built this into Alice as well.
Alice in Wonderland enables the audience to feel comfortably at home with a masterpiece they have all grown up with‚ particularly when the music arrives with the instant classic aura of Tchaikovsky‚ and yet the dancers and the more adventurous members of the audience can bravely set about a new choreographic adventure...I look forward to seeing and hearing this ballet again. ENB may well have acquired Tchaikovsky’s fourth ballet‚ thanks to Deane and Davis – a potent combination'

Alice in Wonderland: Musical
(January 0)


'This is a new version of Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s story‚ prepared by John Wells. Original music has been composed by Carl Davis‚ a man who seems to be able to conjure catchy tunes out of thin air'

Alice in Wonderland: Musical
(January 0)


'If you have older children who have not been turned into morons by television and computer games‚ and if you yourself like a civilised and charming entertainment‚ this is just the ticket. ‘Oh wonderful!’ cried one daddy when the curtain rose to reveal Anthony Ward’s set for the tea party scene; indeed the whole thing is a feast‚ like a Peter Blake painting. The music‚ by Carl Davis‚ is built around parodies of Victorian drawing-room songs‚ and of the Italian opera of the time: Bellini‚ Donizetti‚ the young Verdi'

Alice in Wonderland: Musical
Financial Times: Michael Coveney (January 0)


'The show has been developed from an earlier radio commission for which Davis wrote a marvellous late-19th century pastiche score that moves between operatic nods towards Donizetti and Sullivan while providing sensitive settings of the nonsense poetry of the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon (the broken cadences of “Beautiful Soup” are particularly well ladled)...an ideal family treat'

Alice in Wonderland: Musical
The New Statesman: Anne Karpf (January 0)


'John Wells and Carl Davis’s musical version on ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Through the Looking-Glass’ (Radio 4)‚ is stunningly imaginative and quite simply the best Alice I’ve ever encountered'

Buster Keaton’s: Our Hospitality
Newbury Weekly News (January 0)


'Carl Davis‚ one of the greatest characters in the competitive arena of film and music‚ enthralled a knowledgeable audience with the performance of Our Hospitality. …..’Davis’s score led the audience gently through the story‚ using a simple melody with a Southern flavour to make the images come to life'

Buster Keaton’s: Our Hospitality
The Herald‚ Glasgow (January 0)


'The silent-classics-with-live-scores are the perfect introduction to silent cinema. Davis’s score encapsulated the high drama and sinister aspects of the story and balanced them with lavish romantic passages'

Buster Keaton’s: Our Hospitality
Toronto Life (January 0)


'Our Hospitality is the most underestimated of Keaton’s films; it has a more intimate agenda than many‚ and works within it perfectly. (Incidentally‚ I think Carl Davis’s score is the most brilliant silent score I have ever heard‚ bar none!) '

Chaplin
(January 0)


'The scores of Carl Davis are a unique element in the rare experience of seeing a silent film on the big screen‚ accompanied by a live orchestra with the composer himself conducting'

Chaplin
Daily Telegraph: Charles Spencer (January 0)


'I turned up at the South Bank along with my 10-year-old son Edward‚ determined to hate the evening and firmly hoping that Ed would maintain a great family tradition. But‚ it didn’t work out like that. My son was entranced. Within a couple of minutes‚ I noticed strange symptoms in myself….what were the strange rumblings in my chest‚ and the snorts coming out of my nose? Reader‚ I was laughing at the movie star I had always seen as unfunniness personified……Davis’s score fitted the on-screen action like a glove. The Cure offers 23 minutes of pure pleasure and endlessly prolific invention'

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Birmingham Post: Clare Mackney (January 0)


'Friday’s CBSO audience can thank the English National Opera chorus strike for the evening’s charismatic‚ workmanlike conducting and affable chat from Carl Davis. Davis certainly inspires pizzazz‚ as the CBSO proved by opening this Italian Opera Gala with unrecognisably brighter‚ more engaging reading of Berlioz’ Roman Carnival Overture than their performance a fortnight ago...Even the self-indulgent central sections of Respighi’s The Pines of Rome were eclipsed by the CBSO’s high-octane introduction and stunningly powerful close'

Harold Lloyd: Safety Last
Leicester Mercury (January 0)


'Davis’s work is a true example of wringing emotion from pictures. It was a fascinating evening'

Napoleon
(January 0)


'An artistic creation that can never be forgotten‚ and will endure as long as art does'

Napoleon
(January 0)


'I cannot thank you enough for the occasion‚ the momentous film and the wonderful score by Carl Davis. A terrific evening and an unforgettable performance'

Napoleon
(January 0)


'A once in a lifetime experience – an amazing experience‚ enhanced perfectly by Carl Davis’s superb score'

Napoleon
(January 0)


'The greatest film I’ve ever seen...The greatest film ever made'

Napoleon
BBC: David Bartlett‚ Director‚ (January 0)


'For me‚ it was a familiar if unique experience of pure adrenaline and joy‚ to see all that showmanship and courage up there on the screen‚ and to hear the epic resonance of Davis’s heroic score. For my friends‚ it was magic they had never seen‚ sublime artistic gluttony they had never experienced'

Napoleon
Casper Tybjerg…..Historian and Teacher (January 0)


'Words fail me...'

Napoleon
CNN Hong Kong: Kate Leung (January 0)


'Worth flying over for...'

Napoleon
David Bartlett‚ Granada Television (January 0)


'As I said to you after the show‚ you never put a foot wrong‚ Maestro. Every cadence and movement of the film is supported superbly by your immense‚ magical score. More than that‚ I feel you have always added something‚ enhancing the films you score. I shall never forget the effect of Phantom of the Opera especially. It has always struck me as a somewhat melodramatic‚ possibly downright cheesy film. You turned its melodrama into opera; its sentimentality into emotion. Congratulations. The same is true for Napoleon.
A film much less polished than its American contemporaries though arguably more inventive. You polished it‚ sir. And double congratulations for having not only given us a massive score on Saturday‚ but also for managing to keep the standard at a consistently high level. The physical feat of this alone must not be underestimated or undervalued.

I did also want to mention your Chaplin collection: at long last‚ someone has given Chaplin fans a huge favour of recent years – the recording of his music honourably and correctly. I am one of the people who leapt for joy when scores of The Kid The Gold Rush and Modern Times suddenly poured forth in glorious stereo sound‚ but without the arrogant “interpretive changes” that conductors have insisted upon in previous years. Yours was a big‚ beautiful breath of fresh air. Thank you again'

Napoleon
David Robinson‚ Critic and Historian (January 0)


'A sensation...'

Napoleon
Kevin Brownlow (Restorer of ‘Napoleon’) (January 0)


'The music certainly blew me away and the fact that your magnificent themes can stand side-by-side with the finest music ever produced certainly says something about your ability. As for your stamina – heroic is an understatement. You and the musicians actually seemed to survive on different oxygen!'

Napoleon
Lady Lean; widow of David Lean. (January 0)


'The most fantastic day of my life – it was so wonderful...'

Napoleon
Reuters: David Lawsky (January 0)


'First time I’ve ever given anything a standing ovation since I came to this country'

Napoleon
Sony‚ L.A: Mike Schlesinger (January 0)


'It’s downhill from here on for the rest of my life'

Napoleon
The Times: Bernard Levin (January 0)


'Abel Gance’s film is not just a gigantic‚ beautiful‚ daring‚ original‚ absorbing‚ heroic‚ tremendous and unique masterpiece: it is one of the most completely satisfying and memorable encounters with art I have ever had in my life…..Mr Davis has ransacked Haydn‚ Mozart and above all Beethoven and fitted their work to his so skilfully that the seams are truly imperceptible. On an ocean of C major the silent film floats‚ sounding depths and breadths that anyone would have though impossible in a two-dimensional medium'

Napoleon
Time Out (January 0)


'To see Napoleon‚ with a full orchestra performing Carl Davis’s score‚ is an almost unimaginably thrilling experience…No superlative is enough'

The Gold Rush
(January 0)


'Davis gave a brief onstage introduction‚ then dropped below. Perversely‚ it’s a sign that the orchestra is doing its job when we sometimes forget that this is a live performance. The idea is to completely marry music to image‚ an even tougher task when Charlie’s comic routines call for split-second timing in the sound effects department.
This is a timeless piece‚ still capable of prompting helpless titters from kids‚ guffaws from the adults'

The Gold Rush
Nottingham Evening Post: William Ruff (January 0)


'I have a favourite moment in a Silver Screen Classics concert – it’s when Carl Davis takes his bow‚ acknowledging the applause he has richly deserved as conductor‚ composer and arranger. He then raises his arm and Charlie Chaplin’s picture appears on the screen‚ all the applause being instantly transferred to the comic genius...If you want to see the funniest boxing match in the history of film‚ or discover just how many jokes can be extracted from a prison-escape chase sequence‚ then rush to the next venue at which The Fugitive‚ City Lights and Carl Davis will be casting their magic spell'

The Immigrant
(January 0)


'Go to any film nowadays and you’re bombarded by special effects. Then take a look at a film such as ‘The Immigrant’. It starred Charlie Chaplin‚ was made in 1917 and is still clever‚ with a serious undertone and all packed into 25 minutes or so. Add to that a brilliantly inventive score by Carl Davis and it’s something of a special event'

The Phantom of The Opera
(January 0)


'A restored print of the film is projected onto a giant screen and a full-scale symphony orchestra plays music‚ composed and conducted by Carl Davis. The effect is‚ quite simply‚ magical….there is always something interesting to listen to‚ such is the inventiveness and detail of the sound world which Davis creates……and there is a big part for organ‚ since The Phantom is frequently seen playing the organ in his underground hideaway. This really should be an event for the whole family'

Willard White - BBC Concert Orch
(January 0)


'Willard White’s powerful stage presence contrasted perfectly with the dynamism of guest conductor Carl Davis who was definitely out to have fun...and as the sun started to set on the west front of the cathedral‚ a whole new meaning was brought to the word ‘illuminated’'

Willard White - BBC Concert Orch
(January 0)


'That’s Entertainment was the name of the concert – and it certainly delivered the goods. Carl Davis’s energy‚ versatility and sheer pizzazz are legendary. His orchestra was on top form‚ attacking each number with panache. And then there was the star: Willard White‚ whose rich bass-baritone can startle with its power as well as charm with its velvet smoothness. ……each piece was beautifully crafted‚ razor-sharp in execution. No wonder the audience cheered to the rafters'

Willard White - Hallé Orch
(January 0)


'The great Jamaican bass baritone‚ Sir Willard White‚ left his audience enraptured at the Llangollen Eisteddfod’s closing gala concert. Accompanied by the world famous Halle Orchestra‚ under the baton of Carl Davis‚ the Kingston wizard oozed Caribbean class and sensuality as he performed to a packed pavilion of thousands on the Eisteddfod field.
During the first half‚ his booming mellifluous voice gave us Jamaica Farewell‚ Didn’t my Lord Deliver Daniel‚ Deep River‚ Some Enchanted Evening‚ If I were a Rich Man‚ Smile and This Little Light while the Halle nipped in with Tahiti Trot and West Side Story overture.
As if that wasn’t enough‚ the second half brought us even more delights with Solas Market‚ Come Back Liza‚ I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin‚ Ol’ Man River and My Way‚ along with a couple of much demanded encores. The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly Ol’ Man River‚ sung with the same grace‚ passion and energy as it was by Paul Robeson 70 years ago. The fact the Halle were magnificent on the night came as no surprise to me. The Halle ‘Band’ is one of the greatest orchestras on earth.
But this was the first time I had ever heard Sir Willard‚ and I can only say he was sheer class from bar one. As he delivered his first note the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end‚ and they stayed that way until his final sound drifted away into the Llangollen air. What a night‚ what magic and what a privilege to be there'

Willard White - Northern Sinfonia Orch
(January 0)


'This was a concert with two frontmen‚ the other being Carl Davis – charismatic conductor‚ composer‚ general crowd-pleaser. As Davis said of his friend: Willard sings lots of really heavy stuff – I know another side to him and I’m determined to bring that out.’
It didn’t require much coaxing. An operatic sensation around the world for many years‚ a silver-shirted White clearly revelled in a programme of spirituals and songs by great Broadway masters such as Rodgers‚ Gershwin and Porter. After a climactic ‘My Way’‚ the pair were dragged back for a jovial encore‚ including ‘Bought Me A Cat’'

Willard White - WNO Orch
(January 0)


'Opera singers often make an uncomfortable transition to other forms of music because their voices stay resolutely fixed when they need to be flexible. Willard White finds it easier than most‚ to judge from this appearance with the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera. He has a head start – his dark‚ coppery tones can transform almost any tune. He sings calypsos from his native Jamaica as enjoyable as if he were sipping coconut milk and there are some stage roles he can assume with pride of ownership'