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Chess in Concert [1994 Swedish Concert Cast]
     

Chess in Concert [1994 Swedish Concert Cast]

 
Billed as Chess in Concert, this Swedish album presents the third major recording of the musical Chess, with music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus and lyrics by Tim Rice, which began life as a concept album in 1984 and also had an original Broadway cast recording in 1988. Those two versions were quite different, particularly because the work was

Overview

Billed as Chess in Concert, this Swedish album presents the third major recording of the musical Chess, with music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus and lyrics by Tim Rice, which began life as a concept album in 1984 and also had an original Broadway cast recording in 1988. Those two versions were quite different, particularly because the work was altered extensively for its unsuccessful Broadway run (which followed a successful London production not commemorated with a cast album). As Rice notes in his annotations here, Chess has been produced since in both theatrical and concert versions around the world. "The best interpretations of the work to date have been in concert," he opines, "and the series of shows in Gothenburg in August 1994 have been the very best of those." In addition to this imprimatur from the lyricist, the album was produced by Andersson (Ulvaeus does not seem to have been involved, however). Also, it features -- in the role of the Russian -- Tommy Körberg, who sang the part on the concept album and on-stage in London. Chess has been performed in many different ways. Here, orchestrator/conductor Anders Eljas (who also orchestrated and conducted the concept album) and Andersson have opted to return to the structure of the concept album for the most part, although they also have included a couple of songs added to the score for the London production, "Someone Else's Story" and "The Soviet Machine" (the latter making its debut on record). Not surprisingly, the recording is strongest as a musical work, with Andersson and Ulvaeus' eclectic score given free rein as it winds through influences from classical music (especially Beethoven and Tchaikovsky) and arena rock (notably the Who and Queen), plus elements of '70s pop inescapably recalling their old group, ABBA. (Also inescapably, there are moments when they ape Rice's old collaborator Andrew Lloyd Webber.) Despite Rice's assurance, however, the "interpretation," at least from the point of view of his lyrics, suffers, not only from the emphasis on the music, but also because the singers, all Scandinavians, sing in English with noticeable accents. This is true right from the start, as the Gothenburg Symphony Chorus makes its way through "Merano" in a highly musical but basically incomprehensible manner. Anders Glenmark, singing the role of the American, makes a hash out of "One Night in Bangkok," one of the show's major songs, again due to his accent, and Karin Glenmark, in the major female role of Florence, frequently sounds like Anni-Frid Lyngstad from ABBA as she maneuvers through unfamiliar syllables with odd phrasing. As such, Chess in Concert is not the triumph it could have been, and while more complete than its two predecessors, is not the ideal recording.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/21/2001
Label:
Import [generic]
UPC:
7393896410101
catalogNumber:
64101

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Benny Andersson   Piano,Accordion
Anders Eljas   Conductor
Anders Glenmark   Vocals
Rutger Gunnarsson   Bass
Tommy Körberg   Vocals
Per Lindvall   Percussion,Drums
Peter Ljung   Synthesizer,Keyboards
Liza Öhman   Background Vocals
Lasse Wellander   Guitar
Chorus   Track Performer
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Gothenburg Symphony Chorus   Choir, Chorus
Lars Risberg   Vocals

Technical Credits

Benny Andersson   Arranger,Producer
Anders Eljas   Arranger,Orchestration
Johnny Helmer   Monitor Engineer
Tim Rice   Liner Notes,Text
Rune Soderqvist   Artwork
Bernard Löhr   Engineer

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