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Artwork copyright (c) 2004 Lympia Records; review copyright (c) 2004 James Southall



Outstanding epic drama score


It is no secret that sometimes, to find the very best in life, whether it be food, literature, art or music, one often has to step off the beaten track.  In terms of film music, staying on that beaten track can offer copious delights, but occasionally stepping off it renders rewards just as delicious.  One such instance is Serge Franklin's score for L'Enfant des Loups, a French television miniseries shown in 1990 and not any more successful than any other such show.  However, the impact of Franklin's music on film music fans was great and the music was released in that country shortly after the show aired.  Such a situation, however, especially given the composer's virtual anonymity outside his homeland, did not lend itself to the music being discovered through the rest of the world, but thankfully the advent of the internet in the intervening years hopefully means that that situation can now change.

A new record label, Lympia Records, set up by several of the people behind the Traxzone French language film music website, has released an expanded version of Franklin's music for its first release.  And what a release!  This is rich symphonic and choral music full of colour and passion.  The opening "Prologue" introduces what could be seen as the main theme, with period influence (the series is set in the 6th century, so there is obviously little or nothing directly suggesting that, but it does sound suitably "old"!), first presented in a relatively low-key guise.  Things quickly hot up with the stunning "Ecce Como", a choral piece with chanted Latin (well, I presume it's Latin) which is exciting and dramatic.

There is wonderful action music, arguably led by the strident "Cantique Barbare", with the brassy orchestra accompanied by choir.  A more solemn tone can be found in the emotional "Supplique du Vent" before this turns to the downright darkness of "Apocalypse", which is clearly very similar to Howard Shore's most dramatic moments in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, music written a decade later.  While some of the choral music is chanted and dynamic, elsewhere Franklin employs a wordless, haunting choir to add an air of beauty.  There is a real depth to the music which is quite rare these days.

The epic period story covering many aspects of life in 6th century France enabled Franklin to compose equally epic music.  I'm sure that it will appeal to a great number of film music fans, though the album is limited to 1,500 copies so you'd better get in quick.  I'm itching to hear more of Serge Franklin's music - if it's anything like this then he is a true unearthed talent.  Think of what Lord of the Rings may have sounded if Georges Delerue had scored it and you begin to imagine what L'Enfant des Loups is like - by that, I mean that it features the epic stylings of Shore's work while also being based around the kind of exquisite melodies that Delerue threw around at the drop of a hat.  You're unlikely to find too many albums as good as this one released in 2004.  Highly recommended.

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  1. Prologue (3:44)
  2. Kyrie (1:32)
  3. Ecce Como (3:26)
  4. Les Amants du Silence (2:55)
  5. Un Enfant dans la Neige (2:31)
  6. Le Cri des Loups (3:14)
  7. Fils et Royaumes (1:47)
  8. Cantique Barbare (1:56)
  9. La Peste (1:48)
  10. A la Recherche de Vanda (1:51)
  11. Fille des Loups (2:54)
  12. Supplique du Vent (1:48)
  13. Apocalypse (2:00)
  14. Les Loups dans Poitiers (1:24)
  15. La Peau de la Louve (2:42)
  16. Dies Irae (2:32)
  17. Maledictis (1:22)
  18. Le Psaume des Psaumes (2:49)
  19. Le Livre des Lumieres (4:21)
  20. La Pierre Levee (3:29)
  21. O Vos Omnes (1:10)
  22. La Revolte des Nonnes (2:20)
  23. La Longue Route (1:59)
  24. Danse des Sacrileges (2:46)
  25. Le Convoi (1:54)
  26. Vanda et Albin (2:05)
  27. Ecce Como (reprise) (:59)
  28. La Mort de Romulf (3:17)
  29. Chants de l'Aube (3:09)
  30. L'Enfant des Loups (3:36)