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Honored as Soundtrack of the Month: Jan. 2001Cosmic Voyage (Soundtrack) by David Michael Frank

The Sweet Sound of Space
Review by Christopher Coleman

Composed by David Michael Frank
Produced by David Michael Frank and Ford. A. Thaxton
Conducted and Orchestrated by David Michael Frank; Larrry Schwartz 
Promotional Release 1997

Cosmic Voyage (Soundtrack) by David Michael Frank

Category

Score
Originality 9
Music Selection 8
Composition 8
CD Length 6
Track Order 8
Performance 9
Final Score 8/10

Along with their towering images, the producers of  IMAX films, seem to know not to skimp on the accompanying music.  IMAX features such as Amazon and Island of the Sharks, both scored by Alan Williams, are premium examples of this.  If further evidence of this trend is needed, one need only have one listen to David Michael Frank’s score for Cosmic Voyage.

For this score Frank touches on several familiar and beloved musical styles of many soundtrack collectors.  Fans of James Horner and John Williams have embraced this score as portions of it could, with not too much of a stretch, be ascribed to either of the two composers.  This work has also been compared to some of Rachel Portman's compositions. This is a serious compliment to Mr. Frank.  As other heavenly-scores have done, Cosmic Voyage occasionally tips its hat to the ultimate romp through solar system-score, Holst’s The Planets.  Surprisingly, there is also a little Tchaikovsky waltzing its way through a couple of tracks.

On a quirky side-note, portions of this score were mixed with some alternate takes from the Star Wars trilogy scores.  Mysteries of the Universe (5) was the portion used in the bogus Star Wars track the made its way around the internet.  Again, this is a great compliment to David Michael Frank’s work.  For the first few measures, I actually thought it was Williams.  If this weren't enough compliment,  the second portion of this track bears some resemblance to yet another master of heavenly composition, Jerry Goldsmith. 

The opening track, Cosmic Voyage (1) starts off very soft and reflective using soft strings and the French horn (a favorite combo of mine).  The track continues to build until it is in full-fledged majestic splendor.  This score magically takes the listener for a ride through space and makes for a great listen apart from the film.  Beyond the Stars (10) is very reminiscent of a Tchaikovsky waltz and is simply beautiful.  The following track, 42 Rings (11), is the antithesis of the previous.  It is a short track that builds and builds in a ominous tone until it comes to an abrupt climactic end.  Can you say Williams' opening to Close Encounters? The styles Mr. Frank uses vary greatly in this score – from the playful innocence of Through a Drop of Water (2) to the subtly dramatic Creation (3) to the dreamy Mysteries of the Universe (5)-  Each equally well crafted and entertaining.

As a bonus, a ten-minute cut from Boeing 777 is added to this CD release.  The first few moments are in a slightly corny-heroic style, but that quickly fades into subtle strings.  Unfortunately, the heroic theme works its way back in at the conclusion of the track.  There are moments interspersed through this long track that certainly remind one of some of John Barry’s work, namely Dances with Wolves.  This piece is very similar to the Cosmic Voyage tracks in style and orchestration and if one did not know it, one could easily think this track was a part of the Cosmic Voyage score. 

Composer David Michael Frank is yet another prime example of the true depth of the talent pool that movie directors and producers have to choose from.  It remains most unfortunate that composers like Frank, Mark McKenzie, Christopher Gordon, Alan Williams, and others don't seem to garner the attention that their work warrants.  Cosmic Voyage is a superior effort and comes highly recommended by most who have heard it.

Track Listing and Ratings

 Track  Title  Time

  Rating

Cosmic Voyage 1 Cosmic Voyage 4:50  *****
2 Through a Drop of Water 2:32  ***
3 Creation 3:30  ****
4 Discovery 2:14  ***
5 Mysteries of the Universe 2:05  ****
6 The Heavens Below 1:37  ***
7 Rebirth 1:15  ***
8 Little Green Algae 3:46  ***
9 Into the Cosmos 0:53  ****
10 Beyond the Stars 1:51  ***
11 42 Rings 0:54  ***
12 A Never-Ending Journey 2:43  ***
Boeing 777 13 Working Together/ The Rollout 10:01  ****
       
 

Total Running Time

38:12  
 
 

Referenced Reviews:  

Apollo 13 | Back to Titanic

 

Quick Quotes

"More than anything, Frank's music achieves its goal in conveying the endless, romantically vast feeling of the cosmos...If you're an IMAX fan --or just enjoy plainly good music-- I recommend this CD for you. **** 

Christian Clemmensen - Filmtracks

Composer David Michael Frank
Composer 
David Michael Frank

 

 
 

 

 

 

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