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New Music for Films (Volume 2) by Christopher Franke

Tracksounds Rating = 6/10

Composed  by Christopher Franke
Performed by C.  Franke and the Berlin Symphonic Film Orchestra
Released by Sonic Images 1999

Track Title Time Rating Maxing Synths
by Christopher Coleman

German composer Christopher Franke has been around the music scene since the early 1970’s.  As a member of Tangerine Dream he entered the film music world for such films as Legend, Firestarter, and Risky Business.   The 1990’s welcomed Franke as a solo composer of both New Age, and television and film music.  He has produced upwards of twenty soundtracks and other recordings, including the ever-popular music from the Babylon 5 series and Universal Soldier.  The year 2000 also finds him particularly busy with scoring assignments for Showtime’s The Outer Limit series, TNN’s new series 18 Wheels of Justice, and several new disc releases:  Epic, Earthtone Collection 2, and New Music for Films Volume 2.

Franke’s  label, Sonic Images follows up the 1996 Volume 1 re-release of film music selections from  Eye of the Storm, McBain, and She Woke Up, with an all  new volume.  Christopher Franke: New Music for Films Vol. 2, is further demonstration of Franke being one of the better composers who rely heavily upon synthesizers.  With selections from some of his more recent works: Tarzan and the Lost City, Solo, The Inheritance, Terror in the Mall, and Pacific Blue, this compilation demonstrates the composers ability to get all the emotion possible out of his choice of synthesizers.  Also featured in these performances is the Berlin Symphonic Film Orchestra, which the composer also founded.

This release presents a large selection of music from each of the previously mentioned films and television shows; however, instead of being grouped into suites of each, the tracks have been ordered to provide for the best listening experience.  Since the style of the selections are all from the same synthetic-family, this sort of track mixing works well.  In fact, many of the tracks blend from one to the next…making it difficult to discern when the tracks have actually changed.  

The difficulty presented by this release is simple.  The medium chose to convey the music just doesn't do the actual music justice.  Many film music fans shiver at any score that includes heavy synth-work, and, many times, with good reason.  There are a select few who truly  make the use of synthesizers an actual strength of the composition.  How many times have we said to ourselves or posted on a select message board, "The music is okay, but how much better it would have sounded with a full orchestral performance?"  Such is the case with this release.  To his credit, though,  Franke's compositions are very enjoyable and he does make the most of the synthesizers he has chosen to convey his music.

Christopher Franke demonstrates his talents for musical composition in a variety of ways.  First, he shows his ability to craft memorable and emotional themes in such tracks as Opening  (track 1), Dance Lesson (track 13), and Finale (track 16). Second, tracks such as , The Dam Breaks (track 6) and Escape (track 8) showcase Franke's ability to compose the  action/suspense cue .   Third, the selections from The Inheritance provides us with the most upbeat and positive music of the CD:  Morning Ride, Dance Lesson, and The Race.  Fourth, Franke also shows a dark-side akin to Mark Snow's works, in Damaged Goods and Near Death.

This release contains primarily synthesized music as performed by Franke and it is not easy to find the contributions of the Berlin Symphonic Orchestra.  Christopher Franke certainly has great talent in composing.  While synthesizers may not be the best way to showcase his talent,  Franke does draw all the emotion that can be drawn from digitally produced music, aside from going the Hans Zimmer sythensizer-route.  The “artificiality” of the sound can be  forgotten if one really focuses on the themes that Christopher Franke has audibly sculpted.

1 Opening 3:17 ***
2 Morning Ride 2:23 ***
3 Attack on the Village 2:40 ***
4 Damaged Goods 1:48 ***
5 Jane's Arrival 5:10 ***
6 The Dam Breaks 1:05 ***
7 Broken Dreams 2:55 ***
8 Escape 2:05 ***
9 A New Friendship 1:40 ***
10 The Chase 2:13 ***
11 Deadly Flight 6:31 **
12 Near Death 1:38 ***
13 Dance Lesson 1:17 ***
14 The Race 4:06 ***
15 Fight for Opar 5:10 **
16 Finale 3:32 ***
  Total Playing Time 47:23    



 Originality 6  

Music Selection


Themes/ Composition


CD Length


Track Order




Final Score

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Composer Christopher Franke
Christopher Franke

New Music for Films (Volume 2) by Christopher Franke

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All artwork from Christopher Franke:  New Music for Films Vol. 2  is exclusive property of Sonic Images Records (c) 2000.  Its appearance is for informational purposes only.