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Chess in Concert (2 CD)

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Audio CD, June 16, 2009
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 16, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: 2009
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Reprise Records
  • ASIN: B0028SVXVC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,979 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Act 1. Prologue
2. Act 1. The story of chess
3. Act 1. Merano / What a scene! What a joy!
4. Act 1. Commie newspapers
5. Act 1. Press conference
6. Act 1. Molokov and Anatoly
7. Act 1. Where I want to be
8. Act 1. Difficult and dangerous times
9. Act 1. The arbiter
10. Act 1. Hymn to chess
See all 26 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Act 2. Golden Bangkok
2. Act 2. One night in Bangkok
3. Act 2. One more opponent
4. Act 2. You and I
5. Act 2. The Soviet machine
6. Act 2. The interview
7. Act 2. Someone else's story
8. Act 2. The deal (No deal)
9. Act 2. Pity the child No. 2
10. Act 2. I know him so well
See all 30 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Starring multiplatinum artist Josh
Groban, Tony-winning Idina Menzel
(Wicked) and Tony nominated Adam
Pascal (RENT), Chess In Concert
revives the eclectic yet wonderfully
pop 1984 concept album featuring the music of ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson and lyrics of Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, The
Lion King, Evita). Recorded at
London's Royal Albert Hall in May 2008, this spectacular Chess In Concert - introduced by Rice and with the 50- piece City of London Philharmonic and 100-voice West End Chorus - finally fulfills the promise of the popular cult musical.

Customer Reviews

Josh Groban's rich voice is mesmerizing.
Aidan Devlon
This is a fantastic concert version of the music from the "Chess" concept album, and it may very well be my favorite recording of the musical to date.
Melissa N.
I highly recommend this DVD, especially if you love musicals.
Ennica Street

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Michael on June 16, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
So I downloaded this more or less the second it was available. I've had the original concept album Chess for years now, and I was very excited to get the Menzel/Pascal/Groban(????) version. It is nice to get a more complete version than the original discs. The added songs have some of the connective tissue that hold the plot together make a substantial difference in listening to a cohesive show. But I'm afraid that musically, at least at first listen, it's only good, not great. And I'm not sure that it's as fun as the earlier recording either.

While I know the creators are touting this as the definitive version of Chess, the older recording has strengths this version lacks. Sure, Josh Groban as the Russian has a beautifully pure voice, but he brings little of the angst that Tommy Körberg brought to the original version, just as Adam Pascal brings little of the fun and snark that Murray Head has as the American. Again, on the concept discs Denis Quilley was a brilliant Malakov, and David Bedella can't match the profound bass or the evil glee of the previous recording. Idina Menzel is a capable Florence, though Elaine Page was wonderful too. The original was lush -- if anything, it's overproduced, but the grandeur of some of the numbers ("Merrano," "Mountain Duet" for example) was part of its charm. Some of these tracks seem a little less grand, and the lyrics have been altered in several places, rarely for the better.

Chess in Concert takes a while to get going. Act II of Chess in Concert is much stronger than Act I, whereas the opposite is true on the original concept discs. Lots of my issues with Chess in Concert redeem themselves in Act II.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Joseph M. Perorazio on July 8, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Chess" is one of the most revised and re-revised shows in history. Beginning with the original concept album in 1984, the show went through a slightly altered London production, then a drastically altered Broadway version (which tanked), and numerous international productions since then, most of which combined songs and plot elements from both the London and New York productions. Still, Tim Rice seems to have wanted to present a "definitive" version, and so we have 'Chess in Concert', presented in London's Royal Albert Hall in 2008.

This version features some of today's brightest young stars from Broadway and the West End: Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal, Kerry Ellis, and Marti Pellow, as well as baritone crooner Josh Groban as Anatoly. Overall the cast is excellent, although Menzel's vocal stylings will perhaps not be to everyone's taste. She does, however, capture Florence's vulnerabilities quite well, and is an excellent vocal belter.

Kerry Ellis has the pleasure of singing "Someone Else's Story", now a song for Svetlana, whose character has been greatly expanded. She approaches the role with grace and a firm vocal confidence. "Rent" veteran Adam Pascal makes an excellent Freddie, capturing both his sleaziness and rather pathetic narcissism. Marti Pellow, the former UK pop star, takes on the role of the Arbiter, although he plays it coolly and with almost too much subtlety. Finally, Josh Groban is superb as Anatoly, his "Anthem" bringing down the Act I curtain with an inspirational and moving performance.

The orchestra under David Firman and the very entertaining chorus add polish and verve to the sometimes difficult and wordy score. Indeed, a lyric booklet would have been helpful (be sure to use the captioning when watching the DVD).
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By R. Dinger on June 19, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I wasn't sure I loved this. I wasn't sure I WANTED to love it. And because some of my initial reactions were so negative, I decided to give it a few days, really mull it over, concentrate on it and make up my mind. And I'm glad I did, because I avoided posting many of the kneejerk reactions I'm seeing in the reviews.

The orchestration is absolutely phenomenal in this version. It is likely the absolute best thing about the CD. The production value is fantastic as well. Rarely do I note production value enough to comment on it, but it's incredible here.

As for the cast, that is where you should give this recording the most patience. Each of the performers takes these characters we Chess devotees have come to know and love and adore and manages to make the character his or her own--without betraying the basis we've always known. It's a different read and, in the end, creates far more complext, realistic, and human characterizations than any previous recording I've heard of this material.

That is not to say there are not flaws. Of course there are. But just because this isn't a clone of the Concept Album doesn't mean it isn't just as good, on its own merits. When listening, bear in mind a few things: 1) this is a concert performance, not a studio recording. This leads to a "less perfect" but more authentic experience; there's no fixing mistakes as there was when recording the Concept Album. 2) Menzel takes awhile to find her footing, and she has problems blending during group numbers. However, she does some interesting things with Florence and they're well worth considering. Hang in there with her, give her the benefit of the doubt on a few listen-throughs, and you'll be rewarded. 3) There is no way you can truly love "Chess" and truly despise this recording. Give it a chance before you write it off. Love it for its own merits and flaws, not for those you bring to it.
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Chess in Concert (2 CD)
This item: Chess in Concert (2 CD)
Price: $24.98 $19.78
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