The World at War
30th Anniversary Edition

Silva Screen Records (0738572037024)
TV Series/TV film | Release date: 01/20/2004 | Format: CD, Download

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# Track Artist/Composer Duration
1.Speech – Neville Chamberlain0:44
2.The World At War – Theme And German MarchCarl Davis3:56
3.Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me GoodbyeGracie Fields2:34
4.We’re Gonna Hang Out The Washing On The Siegfried LineArthur Askey2:33
5.BoumCharles Trenet2:32
6.France Falls – SuiteCarl Davis10:50
7.Speech – Winston Churchill0:31
8.AdolfThe Billy Cotton Band2:46
9.Lili MarleneLale Anderson3:14
10.Red StarCarl Davis4:07
11.The Red Army Is The StrongestThe Red Army Choir2:41
12.Speech – Field Marshal Montgomery0:28
13.This Is The Army. Mr. JonesIrving Berlin2:19
14.G.I.BluesCarl Davis3:05
15.Coming In On A Wing And A PrayerAnne Shelton2:44
16.Speech – General Eisenhower0:21
17.Arnhem AirliftCarl Davis1:03
18.Warsaw AftermathCarl Davis2:34
19.Run Rabbit RunFlanagan And Allen2:44
20.I’m Going To Get Lit Up (When The Lights Go Up On London)Carrol Gibbons2:32
21.Turkey ShootCarl Davis4:43
22.When They Sound The Last “all Clear”Vera Lynn3:21
23.London PrideNoel Coward3:24
24.Blood, Sweat And TearsCarl Davis3:46
25.Speech – Winston Churchill0:23
26.ReckoningCarl Davis3:20
27.The World At War – ThemeCarl Davis1:07
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The World at War - 06/10 - Review of Tom Daish, submitted at
Although satellite channels now have endless documentaries about every aspect of the Second World War, thirty years ago, the memories were only just becoming distant enough to produce an objective (at least, as objective as could be allowed) documentary on the war. It took on the presence of an epic miniseries, even if it remained at heart, a detailed and substantial documentary. Music for documentaries is a difficult thing to place as, even more than with drama, it mustn't overwhelm the commentary and real life events featured. Carl Davis has been penning music for television and cinema on and off for many years, but this represents one of his earliest efforts for Auntie. This album contains 40 minutes of Davis' underscore which has been re-recorded with the City of Prague Philharmonic, together with period songs and several crucial and oft remembered speeches given to rally civilians and troops alike.
After an opening speech from Neville Chamberlain, Davis' World at War theme is introduced - presumably a concert arrangement given its four minute length. Davis says he went for an eastern European, Slavic flavour, and there's definitely a hint of Dvorak as well as more contemporary composers such as Wojciech Kilar. A surprisingly jazzy (but still fairly sombre) middle section is bookended by the more stoic main theme. Indeed, stoic is perhaps the most apt description of most of the music. Davis consciously avoids melodrama and heroism, there is no glorification here. The most substantial selection is the suite from France Falls, which includes all the music composed for that episode. Again, the slightly jazzy sax theme occurs, but the drama of the situation is suggested by darker, more urgent passages. As music for a documentary has to be unobtrusive as possible, there are some passages that are musically somewhat uninteresting and Davis rarely lets the music become too active. The biggest glimmer of optimism is during Blood, Sweat and Tears, although the horns seem to have slight trouble on occasion. An unfortunate exception in an otherwise fine performance.

Although a vital morale booster for both enemies and allies, the period songs are rather more of historical than musical importance. I doubt many would be greatly remembered had their patriotic overtones not been so crucial to keeping up the spirits of civilians and troops. Of course, the contributions of Irving Berlin and Noel Coward (given his sexual orientation, the title of the song featured, London Pride, seems all the more apt today - I'm sure Coward would have appreciated the irony) are more interesting, and of course no World War Two collection would be complete without Vera Lynn, although no We'll Meet Again here. Although there are some fine moments in Davis' score - the theme is terrific and the drama and tension he provides is exemplary - but it does often have that TV music feel, being a touch aimless at times. Although it was felt that mixing the period songs and score would reflect the progress of the series and hence the war, it does make the experience quite eclectic, especially for those interested solely in Davis' score. A good souvenir of the series, but an album that's sometimes difficult to enjoy on its own terms.
New Recording of the Score from the TV Series
Composed and Conducted by CARL DAVIS
Plus Original Songs and Speeches from WW II
The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Carl Davis

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