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Chess Cast Recording

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Audio CD, Cast Recording, April 23, 1996
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Product Details

  • Performer: Alan Byers, Barbara Dickson, Leslie Fyson, Vernon Midgley, Tommy Koerberg, et al.
  • Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Anders Eljas
  • Composer: Benny Andersson
  • Audio CD (April 23, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B000002GLR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,357 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Merano - The Ambrosia Singers/Anders Eljas/Murray Head
2. The Russian And Molokov/ Where I Want To Be - The Ambrosia Singers/Anders Eljas/Tommy Korberg/Denis Quilley
3. Opening Ceremony - The Ambrosia Singers/Anders Eljas/Bjorn Skifs
4. Quartet (A Model Of Decorum And Tranquility) - Elaine Paige/Tommy Korberg/Denis Quilley/Bjorn Skifs
5. The American And Florence/Nobody's Side - Elaine Paige/Murray Head
6. Chess - LSO/Anders Eljas
7. Mountian Duet - Elaine Paige/Tommy Korberg
8. Florence Quits - Elaine Paige/Murray Head
9. Embassy Lament - Tommy Korberg/The Ambrosia Singers/Anders Eljas
10. Anthem - Tommy Korberg
Disc: 2
1. Bangkok
2. One Night In Bangkok
3. Heaven Help My Heart
4. Argument
5. I Know Him So Well
6. The Deal (No Deal)
7. Pity The Child
8. Endgame
9. Epilogue: You And I / The Story Of Chess

Editorial Reviews

No Description Available.
Genre: Original Cast Recordings
Media Format: Compact Disk
Release Date: 23-JUL-1996

Customer Reviews

This is the best musical i've ever heard.
Chess is a concept album that also became a musical that was originally recorded 1984 and have lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus.
Bjorn Viberg
The original concept recording is still the best version of Chess.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

107 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Rossi on October 13, 2001
Format: Audio CD
After his collaboration with Andrew Lloyd Webber (Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Evita) ended, Tim Rice would make one more piece of musical theatre before going to work for Disney. A collaboration with Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus (both of Abba), Chess would go through a lot of changes over the years in its London and Broadway productions, and beyond. A definitive version will be forthcoming in Sweden in not too long a time, and will hopefully spawn more productions as it goes.
But, what's at hand doesn't even go into the saga of Chess. This is the original concept album, a double LP created to popularize the music. This had worked twice before with Rice and Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, and it worked again with Chess. The London production went well, the Broadway one (anecdotes place the blame on awful direction) not so well, but still had some degree of success. So what was it about the Chess concept album that worked?
The sound of the show, for one thing. Chess is a wonderfully pop musical, with a unique 1980s tone that sets it up as a cold war love story. That is not to say that it is weak--just that there are a lot of very cool elements of '80s pop (hence Abba). And it makes a middle-aged white guy rapping sound cool in "One Night in Bangkok," a dance hit particularly in the UK. Andersson and Ulvaeus prove that they have a very diverse range in the nicely through-composed score, setting up certain themes for the various situations that the characters find themselves in throughout the show. As is to be expected, guitars, bass, synths, and percussion make up the orchestra on the album, and complete the total-pop sound of the piece.
The lyrics help a lot.
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By RJStuart on February 5, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Before I had bought 'Chess' three years ago, I had only ever heard one other musical with such diverse musical types and that was Lloyd Webber's 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat'; both of these musicals, incidentally, have been written by the brilliant lyricist, Tim Rice. The composers, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus (the male half of ABBA) have combined a variety of styles of music (eg 1980's Pop, and Classical) in creating this - the most original musical I have heard. Yet, it is well known that Rice had devised the idea of 'Chess' long before he even approached Andersson and Ulvaeus to compose the music for it, consequently a lot of the credit must go to Rice.
This album is a concept recording, consequently the plot is difficult to follow at times, but that would have to be the only fault with this album. Set during the middle of the Cold War, 'Chess' focuses on three central characters; Florence played by the amazing Elaine Paige, the Russian (a reluctant protagonist, which makes him realistic) played by Tommy Korberg, and the American (the antagonist) played by Murray Head. Listeners are subject to the conflicts, controversies and, put simply, the darker (and more entertaining) side of the game of chess. Who would have thought that using chess as the subject matter of a musical would create an entertaining story for an audience? It is because of the use of such unexpected subject matter that makes this musical incredibly original and thus appealing.
Nearly all of the events which occur in 'Chess' are linked to the character of the Russian. Listeners are first introduced to the Russian in the song "The Russian and Molokov" where we see a tactical, yet cynical chess champion who has a bit of a temper, but is very focussed on the game of chess.
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57 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Augustus Caesar, Ph.D. on July 31, 2000
Format: Audio CD
"Chess," which debuted in London's West End in 1986, was perhaps the most anticipated musical of the '80s. With music by ABBA's Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus and lyrics courtesy of Tim Rice ("Jesus Christ Superstar," "Evita"), an all star cast and big money backing, the show ran for three years in London, then flopped on Broadway, where it debuted in 1988. The show's disastrous New York run was thanks to a heavily re-worked plot, Trevor Nunn's incoherent staging and an absolutely scathing New York Times review from Frank "Butcher of Broadway" Rich. So--aside from all the publicity--is "Chess" any good? The answer is yes, it is very, very good--better than good, in fact. The music is lush, diverse, by turns dramatic and delicate, searing and fragile, yet always possessed by one of the most acute melodic sensibilities ever to compose for the theatre: Benny Andersson. Andersson always referred to Tchaikovsky as his favorite composer, and his score reflects the Russian master's profound understanding of melody. Not since Frederick Loewe composed "Camelot" has such an incandescent, profligately tuneful score appeared on stage. And Anders Eljas' orchestrations color Andersson's music to absolute perfection. Tim Rice supplies perhaps his finest set of lyrics, dispelling the rumor that he is (according to a famous quote) "the world's worst lyricist." From the virtuosic wordplay of "Merano" to the brutal, deft rhymes of "Pity the Child," Rice's libretto is masterful.Read more ›
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