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Chess (1988 Original Broadway Cast) Cast Recording

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Audio CD, Cast Recording, June 5, 1989
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$85.68 $18.93

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 5, 1989)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: Rca Records/Sbme
  • ASIN: B000002WBG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,050 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Prologue
2. The Story of Chess
3. Where I Want to Be
4. How Many Woman
5. Chess Hymn
6. Quartet (A Model of Decorum and Tranquility)
7. You Want to Lose Your Only Friend?
8. Someone Else's Story
9. One Night in Bangkok (Part 1)
10. One Night in Bangkok (Part 2)
11. Terrace Duet
12. Nobody's Side
13. Anthem
14. Hungarian Folk Song
15. Heaven Help My Heart
16. No Contest
17. You and I
18. I Know Him So Well
19. Pity the Child
20. Lullaby (Apukad Eros Kezen)
See all 22 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

It was a success in London but a bomb in New York in 1988, but Chess's cult reputation has only grown over the years--quite a feat for a dramatic musical about love and cold war politics at a chess tournament! While Tim Rice's lyrics aren't too shabby, Chess owes it all to the team of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, a.k.a. the BB in Abba. Their score has the drama that makes for good musical theater, and it doesn't shy from canny pop hooks either. "One Night in Bangkok" was a hit in Europe, while Judy Kuhn particularly shines on the poignant "Nobody's Side." Indeed, Chess is full of superb numbers that basically fall into two types: instantly memorable and growing-on-you memorable. --Elisabeth Vincentelli

Customer Reviews

I listen to the music often and would recommend this to anyone who loves plays or this musical.
Renee Post
What really bothered me was that not all of the songs from the show were on the album, probably to keep it to one disk.
Deirdre Root
It's disappointing that the Broadway cast album has gone out-of-print, as it is a truly great recording.
DVD buff

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Michael Moricz on January 21, 2005
Format: Audio CD
While there are those who prefer the original, harder-edged British version, this Broadway version captures career-defining vocal performances by all three leads. The late David Carroll has never been better (at least on CD), and since the show favors his "Russian" character, he gets to shine not only in solo numbers like "Where I Want to Be" and the essential "Anthem" but in duets with Ms. Kuhn. Mr. Casnoff created the standard Broadway version of the rock screamer "Pity the Child" and though he shortly thereafter moved West, his take on the unsympathetic Freddie has always been the one to beat where this American version of the show is concerned.

Most spectacular of all, though, is Judy Kuhn's performance, from one end of this CD to the other. I know of no other single recorded vocal performance by any other female Broadway singer over the past 3 decades which I find more thrilling than her performance here. It's dark, intense, musky yet crystal-clear, with a vocal strength that's almost impossible to believe. There is no sense of two registers here. You can call it a "mix" if you like, but it sounds like one thread of solid vocal sound matched up and down the spectrum of her singing voice. The "Someone Else's Story" powerballad was written for her and it is as spectacular a match of individual vocal strengths to material as one could ever hope for. Judy Kuhn's Florence is spunky, intensely dramatic, sarcastic and finally ecstatic in things like "Terrace Duet" and "You and I" with David Carroll. In a CD filled with spectacular vocal turns by major contemporary Broadway voices of a decade ago, it is Ms. Kuhn's performance which is the main reason to own this CD.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By tvtv3 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 4, 2005
Format: Audio CD
CHESS has had several incarnations--from the Chicago edition, to the original British version, to this the original Broadway (American) cast. Tim Rice thought of the idea for the musical and wrote the lyrics and during the 1980s, it kind of became his obsession; i.e. CHESS is to Tim Rice as E.T. is to Steven Spielberg as STAR WARS is to George Lucas. Rice corraborated on the project with half of ABBA (Benny Anderson and Bjorn Ulvaeus): they wrote the music and what beautiful music it is. The show was only on Broadway for about 3 months (Apr-June) in 1988 before being cancelled. Perhaps because the Cold War was waning, but at the time there didn't seem to be much of an audience for it. However, the Cold War ended 16 years ago and the show has grown in status over the years. The musical tells the story of an American chess player (loosely based upon Bobby Fischer) and his Russian counterpart. The American's lover and coach leaves him for the Russian. The Russian professes his love, but he's torn because he already has a wife and children back in the homeland. The play portrays the Russian as being the victim, but if you really think about it, he's not. I find the music of the show to be particularly moving and many of the lyrics are haunting. "Where I Want To Be", "Nobody's Side", "I Know Him So Well", and "Pity the Child" are all wonderful songs, tainted with melancholy. "One Night in Bangkok" actually became an international pop hit. However, the main reason that I like this album more than the other versions of the show is the inclusion of the song "Someone Else's Story". There just seems to be so much depth and emotion in that song that it stirs something in my soul everytime I hear or sing it. Most fans of CHESS prefer the more rock driven British version album. However, "Heaven Help My Heart" and call me a red, white, and blue Yankee because in the "Endgame" I like this album of CHESS the best.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 20, 1998
Format: Audio CD
I had been a big fan of the Elaine Paige "Chess" but this Broadway version, to me, far surpasses it. Perhaps it's because I had the good fortune to see it on Broadway and then in a Carnegie Hall concert performance with this original cast. Judy Kuhn confirms her spot as Broadway's finest singing actress with her brilliant performance here -- who else can move from a tender soprano to a belting chest voice? The late David Carroll is superb, as is the rest of the cast. Despite the shortcomings of the book and staging on Broadway -- who cares? This score is simply wonderful, with the new "Someone Else's Story" sung with such heartbreak by Kuhn. Carroll's "Anthem" is definitive. And there are many who can no longer listen to the final "You and I," simply because they know they'll never stop crying. And I'll never forget seeing the original cast sing the "Quintet" to "bravos" and "bravas" in a scanty Saturday matinee audience. This musical is MUCH underrated and I can't recommend this cast album enough.
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful By gellio on July 6, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Although I much prefer the London version of Chess, I always felt the Broadway version offered much better orchestrations. The story, however, was entirely ruined when they changed it for Broadway. It totally lost it's beauty, it's passion, and it's heart. They paid the price for the change as it flopped.
Now a new recording of Chess has been released. The 2001/2002 Complete Danish Cast Recording, which is sung in English. There are many reason's why I like it better than the London Cast. I won't even compare it with the Broadway version, because it's incomparable, due to the awful book of the Broadway version.
There are three big reasons why the Danish recording is superior to the London version. And for you Broadway fans, your great orchestrations are better here, and you also get "Someone Else's Story and a whole slew of songs that are not on the Broadway recording.
1: Orchestrations: The orchestrations on this recording are incredibly superior to those of the London Cast. That is the problem you run into with a "concept" recording. "Concept" recordings are never the final version to hit the stage, and seem like stripped down versions of the stage version. "One Night in Bangkok" is fierce on this recordings and the orchestrations (although subtile) make all the difference. "The Arbiter" is also so much more enjoyable here. "The Story of Chess" opens the show, where it makes much more sense than at the end. The orchestrations across the board are truly wonderful.
2: Completeness: You get so much more music in the new recording. About 50 minutes of new music that wasn't on the incomplete Concept.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


Topic From this Discussion
What did they leave out in the Original Broadway Cast recording of Chess...
The show took place in Bangkok and Budapest. Some of the ensemble numbers were dropped from the recording including "US vs USSR" and "We Can Work Together". Of course it's best to remember this was still in the days of vinyl (in fact the LP is much shorter) Oh and despite what... Read More
Oct 10, 2010 by Catherine Goltz |  See all 2 posts
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