Composed by Christopher Franke
Performed by Christopher Franke and the Berlin Symphonic Film Orchestra
Conducted by Alan Wagner
Recorded and Produced by Edgar Rothermich
Mastered by Edgar Rothermich
Music Supervisor: Rudy Panke
Design: Doerte Lau and Andreas Adamec
"INTENSE... I RECOMMEND IT HIGHLY... ****"
Christopher Franke was born in Berlin and studied classical music and composition at the Berlin Conservatory.
He was a member of the famous electronic group Tangerine Dream from 1970 to 1988. Although it is not what they
do mainly, they did score a number of films in the 80's. Their most famous film score is "Legend," which replaced
Jerry Goldsmith's score for the US version. I have their scores for "Sorcerer" and "The Park Is Mine," but I don't
like them very much. Christopher Franke left the group in 1989 and became independent. He scored "Universal
Soldier" in 1992 and I don't not find my taste in that score either. Since then, he has not been very active in
scoring major motion pictures. His credits mostly belong to TV shows and movies, and he is best known for his
music for the hit sci-fi series "Babylon 5."
All the way along, I didn't really like his electronic music. However, this CD changes my impression on
Christopher Franke very much. His music sounds great when it is combined with an orchestra. Many selections
are performed with the Berlin Symphonic Film Orchestra. The CD basically contains music from 4 films ("Solo,"
"Tarzan And The Lost City," "The Inheritance" and "Terror In The Mall") and the TV series "Pacific Blue." If I am
not mistaken, only "Solo" and "Tarzan And The Lost City" actually made to big screens. Among the selections,
they sound very coherent with the exception of the "Pacific Blue" tracks. The selections from the films are mainly
action cues. The softer and more jazzy cues from "Pacific Blue" sound a bit odd when mixing with the others. It's
understandable that they use those tracks to balance out the intense music or to show the other side of
Christopher Franke. However, I think the album would work just fine without them.
The selections from the films are obviously the highlights of the CD. They are all really enjoyable. Most of the
tracks are surprisingly very lyrical, especially the selections from "Inheritance." The selections from "Tarzan And
The Lost City" are some tongue-in-cheek action music. "Jane's Arrival" is one of my favorite tracks. It starts off
with a soft and lyrical melody (which also appears in other tracks). Then a jungle rhythm kicks in and the great
melody keeps playing. Most of the tracks carry a great and intense rhythm. With the sound of the combination
between synthesizer and orchestra, there are moments that resemble the music from Media Venture composers
(ala. Hans Zimmer, Mark Mancina, etc.) "The Race" is another great track. It's simple has a great, joyful and
upbeat melody and rhythm. The one thing I don't like about the music is that the synthesizer sound is a little too
heavy. However, it is just my personal taste. In general, this is a very enjoyable album and I highly recommend it
to those who like rhythmic music. Rating: ****
Film Score Magic
"THE EPIC SIDE OF FRANKE'S WRITING"
Christopher Franke's new demo/compilation album excerpts works from five of his films: "Tarzan and the Lost
City," "The Inheritance," "Pacific Blue," "Terror in the Mall" and "Solo." Interestingly, the score suites are broken
up and scattered across the disc for pacing purposes.
Much of the music could be from the same film, as Franke gets a consistent sound with his ultra-reverbed,
massive, synth-driven Berlin Symphonic Film Orchestra. Franke also bridges certain tracks (mainly via synth
pads), despite their being from different films.
"Tarzan and the Lost City" opens the album with the epic side of Franke's writing. It starts with textural patterns
and sampled vocals, but soon takes off in a more traditional, thematic vein. Unfortunately, the synth sweetening
takes over where it doesn't have to (unlike with much of Hans Zimmer's work), making for some wet and heavy
The inclusion of real instruments does make this much more listenable than something like his own "Babylon 5."
Plus, of all the scores represented here, "Tarzan" has some of the most interesting samples. The music itself is
incredibly basic on every level. This leads to some pure and majestic thematic materials, but also to some
clichéd action passages (not Franke's strong suit).
"Terror in the Mall" and "Solo" suffer from inadequate action writing. "Terror in the Mall" is the weaker of the two, as
the action of "Solo" is above average for Franke: "Deadly Fight" uses orchestral hit-like patches like those used in
Brad Fiedel's "The Terminator." On top of this, the "Finale" theme from "Solo" is more intimate in scale, using an
thnic flute over piano, harp and light percussion. "The Inheritance" would represent the "lighter side" of the album
if not for the fact that the synth orchestrations are so heavy. In fact, "The Race" might be the track that would
benefit most from dismissal of the synths in favor of acoustics.
The tracks from the fifth film, "Pacific Blue," stand out on this CD. Urban percussion contrasts with soothing
aural landscapes as Franke uses extreme register vocals on his melodic ideas (very low, very high and little
in-between). He's less reliant on structured harmonic progressions with "Pacific Blue," instead using more of a
layering of voices. "Pacific Blue" isn't epic or overpowering comic book music and it works well interspersed
amidst "Tarzan" and "Terror in the Mall"-type tracks. On this album, it adds a dimension to those scores (as they
coalesce into one whole).
Franke's new compilation flows rather well and covers a good deal of ground. The suspect decision to break up
the score suites turns out to be an excellent choice and this album should serve its demo purposes well. Grade:
April 5, 2000
"...FRANKE IS A VERSATILE AND GIFTED COMPOSER"
Synth wizard Christopher Franke may be best known among Sci-Fi fans for his atmospheric accompaniment to
"Babylon 5," but his talents certainly aren't limited to generating supplementary music solely for that series. His
CD's 16 tracks spotlight selections from five other relatively recent projects, including six energetic cues from
"Tarzan and the Lost City" and a couple of solid cuts from the android-adventure "Solo." Even the tunes that
augment the non-genre projects are potent, clearly demonstrating that Franke is a versatile and gifted