Behind the scenes of Ethel and Ernest

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Interviews with cast members Brenda Blethyn (Ethel), Jim Broadbent (Ernest), Luke Treadaway (adult Raymond Briggs), Harry Collett (young Raymond Briggs)

An in depth interview with composer and conductor Carl Davis. Information about Carl’s music as featured on the Ethel and Ernest Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD is here.

Ethel and Ernest composer Carl Davis’ ‘Maestro’ book launch

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We were at Faber Music Ltd last night for the launch of a new book about the life and career of Carl Davis.  Carl composed the wonderful score for Ethel and Ernest, which is available through Decca records. There is a section in the book about writing the score for the film.


Carl Davis signs copies of his book ‘Maestro’ for Ethel and Ernest producer Camilla Deakin and editor Richard Overall


Carl Davis, Camilla Deakin and Richard Overall share a joke at the signing

“Published to mark his 80th birthday, Carl Davis: Maestro by Wendy Thompson offers a unique glimpse into the life and work of this consummate all-round musician, documenting his immense impact on the many spheres of music-making he has inhabited. Davis’s fascinating life story gives an insight into the prolific composing and conducting career of one of the world’s most celebrated film and television composers.”


Ethel and Ernest original motion picture soundtrack

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A CD of the music included in the Ethel and Ernest feature film is now available for pre-order . It will be released by Decca records on the 11th of November.

Music is an integral part of the film, with an original score composed by internationally renowned composer and conductor Carl Davis. It is his first score for an animated feature and is performed by the Chamber Orchestra of London with a piano solo by Huw Watkins. There are also original recordings of songs and tunes from the 1920s through to the 1970s that give period flavour to the film, with artists as diverse as Gracie Fields, Charles Penrose, Juliette Greco, The Shadows and Dave Berry featuring on the soundtrack.  

Two tracks in the film come from a very famous musical family. Back in the 1920s Sir Paul McCartney’s father, James McCartney, wrote a tune called Walking in the Park with Eloise when he was leader of the Jim Mac’s Jazz band, a version of which was recorded by Paul McCartney as The Country Hams in 1974. This has been re-arranged specially for the film by Carl Davis and performed by the Chamber Orchestra of London. In addition Sir Paul McCartney himself has written and performed a brand new song for the film – In The Blink Of An Eye – which plays over the first part of the end credits before leading into a reprise of Walking in the Park with Eloise.


Composer Carl Davis to perform his Ethel and Ernest score in a special ‘Friday Night Is Music Night’ programme

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BBC Radio 2’s long running programme ‘Friday Night Is Music Night’ will be celebrating the work of composer and conductor Carl Davis on October 21st at 20:00hrs. It will be a celebration ahead of Carl’s 80th birthday, and will showcase many of his compositions including the brilliant pieces of original score that he did for the Ethel and Ernest film.


Recording the music at Angel Studios

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Angel Studios, London, May 16th 2016. This is a behind the scenes peek filmed during the recording of the music for ‘Ethel and Ernest’. The music for the film is composed and conducted by the internationally renowned, BAFTA winning, Carl Davis (see earlier post).
On the desk in the foreground is musical director Chris Egan, and also present are Ethel and Ernest producer Camilla Deakin, and film editor Richard Overall. Carl Davis is conducting the Chamber Orchestra of London.
Music by Carl Davis is published by Faber Music Ltd., and a soundtrack album of music from the film will become available on Decca Records.

More extensive behind the scenes filming of this recording session, including an interview with Carl Davis, will become available shortly on the Ethel and Ernest website.


Composer and conductor Carl Davis scores the music for Ethel and Ernest

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We are thrilled to announce that the composer and conductor Carl Davis has written the  music for Ethel and Ernest.

As you will see from his biographical notes   Carl’s range of work is immense. His film compositions include The French Lieutenant’s Woman for which he won a BAFTA and Ivor Novello awards. But perhaps more significantly for our film, which starts in the silent cinema era of the 1920s, are the compositions he has done to accompany silent films.

Earlier this year producer Camilla Deakin, editor Richard Overall, and myself made several trips to Carl’s house in Windsor to hear the progression of the compositions.  We were  bowled over by the beautifully haunting music that we heard on our very first trip, and that piece became the main theme that you will hear at various key moments throughout the film.

Roger_Camilla_Carl Davis_Jan 25th 2016_Ethel and Ernest

Director Roger Mainwood and producer Camilla Deakin listen to the first play through of what would become the main Ethel and Ernest theme. January 2016.

Carl Davis and CamillaJan 25th 2016

Producer Camilla Deakin with Carl Davis – Windsor – January 2016

Carl Davis music for Ethel and Ernest

The finished score waiting to be played by soloist Huw Watkins – Angel Studios, Islington, 16th May 2016

Recording Ethel and Ernest at Angel studios May 2016

The Ethel and Ernest original score being recorded at Angel Studios, Studio 1, Islington, north London, 16th May 2016. Carl Davis is conducting the Chamber Orchestra of London.

The recording took place in May at Angel studios in north London under the musical direction of Chris Egan.  It was conducted by Carl Davis and performed by the Chamber Orchestra of London. As well as a classical ensemble Carl also employed jazz musicians who were versed in recreating the authentic sound of bands from the 1920s and 1930s. A piano solo of the main Ethel and Ernest theme was performed by Huw Watkins.

Music by Carl Davis is published by Faber Music Ltd., and a soundtrack album of music from the film will become available on Decca Records.

An American who has lived in London since the 1960s Carl is no stranger to composing music that sums up the life of the city he has adopted. Here, in a trip down memory lane, is Carl from 1983…

Ethel and Ernest also uses original recorded music from the periods depicted in the film. A vast range of popular tunes from four decades are woven into the soundtrack, from Al Bowlly’s  1934 recording of ‘What a Little Moonlight Can Do’ through to The Shadows 1963 hit ‘Foot Tapper’  The guiding light on getting clearance on all these tracks was the indomitable Gary Welch and his team at Eyehear music.

Listen out also for a wonderful end credit song written and performed by someone you will all have heard of ! But more on that in a later post….