Chess [Original Cast Recording]

( 11 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Chess was the concept album written by Tim Rice and composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, and it was something you might have expected from the lyricist who brought you Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita and the musical team that wrote the songs and made up the male half of ABBA. That is to say, it had a meaty scenario and lots of catchy, eclectic pop music. But unlike Rice's earlier concept albums, this one was not based on an existing story to provide the lyricist with a plot. Instead, he drew upon existing U.S. and U.S.S.R. tensions as seen through an international chess tournament. But Rice's plot was convoluted, shot through with what seemed to be his real,...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Chess was the concept album written by Tim Rice and composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, and it was something you might have expected from the lyricist who brought you Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita and the musical team that wrote the songs and made up the male half of ABBA. That is to say, it had a meaty scenario and lots of catchy, eclectic pop music. But unlike Rice's earlier concept albums, this one was not based on an existing story to provide the lyricist with a plot. Instead, he drew upon existing U.S. and U.S.S.R. tensions as seen through an international chess tournament. But Rice's plot was convoluted, shot through with what seemed to be his real, more personal concerns -- the negative effects of success and celebrity and the pain of divorce. In fact, the work was more interesting when such matters were being explored than when Rice was going on about international relations, and his most effective songs were the sad romantic ballads like "Heaven Help My Heart" and "I Know Him So Well" which became a number one hit in the U.K.. Andersson and Ulvaeus were typically tuneful, even if their score was so eclectic it lacked unity. The album's other hit single, "One Night in Bangkok," sounded like M's "Pop Muzik," and in turn may have helped inspire Miss Saigon. "Nobody's Side," a vocal showcase for Elaine Paige, kept threatening to turn into an ABBA song, and you wished it would. Elsewhere, the team drew on everyone from Debussy to Pete Townshend, and from Richard Rodgers to Alfred Newman, the Hollywood movie composer. Chess was mounted successfully in the West End in 1986 but unsuccessfully on Broadway in 1988. In subsequent productions, Rice has revised the story, but Chess remained a deeply flawed work with some excellent songs and performances.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/23/1996
  • Label: Decca Broadway
  • UPC: 042284744522
  • Catalog Number: 847445
  • Sales rank: 65,732

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Merano (7:00)
  2. 2 Where I Want to Be (6:22)
  3. 3 Opening Ceremony (9:20)
  4. 4 Quartet (A Model of Decorum and Tranquility) (2:18)
  5. 5 Nobody's Side (5:27)
  6. 6 Chess (5:45)
  7. 7 Mountain Duet (4:43)
  8. 8 Florence Quits (2:54)
  9. 9 Embassy Lament (1:30)
  10. 10 Anthem (3:04)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Bangkok / One Night in Bangkok (5:02)
  2. 2 Heaven Help My Heart (3:30)
  3. 3 Argument (1:51)
  4. 4 I Know Him So Well (4:14)
  5. 5 The Deal (No Deal) (3:54)
  6. 6 Pity the Child (5:29)
  7. 7 Endgame (10:50)
  8. 8 Epilogue: You and I / The Story of Chess (10:30)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
London Symphony Orchestra Performing Ensemble
Barbara Dickson Vocals
Murray Head Vocals, Track Performer
Björn J:son Lindh Flute
Ambrosian Singers Choir, Chorus
Benny Andersson Synthesizer, Keyboards
Anders Eljas Synthesizer, Conductor, Keyboards
Leslie Fyson Vocals
Anders Glenmark Background Vocals
Rutger Gunnarsson Bass
Tommy Körberg Vocals
Per Lindvall Percussion, Drums
John McCarthy Choir Master
Liza Öhman Background Vocals
Lasse Wellander Guitar
Alan Byers Vocals
Vernon Midgley Vocals
Elaine Paige Vocals
Björn Skifs Vocals
Denis Quilley Vocals
Technical Credits
London Symphony Orchestra Contributor
Murray Head Contributor
Ambrosian Singers Contributor
Benny Andersson Arranger, Composer, Producer
Anders Eljas Arranger
Tommy Körberg Contributor
Michael B. Tretow Engineer
Björn Ulvaeus Composer, Producer, Contributor
Tim Rice Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Contributor
Elaine Paige Contributor
Björn Skifs Contributor
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

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(11)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The best version of Chess

    This is the original version of the musical Chess, and while it's considered a musical, it would be more appropriate to call it a rock opera. Especially considering its pedigree--Tim Rice and Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson as writer and composers. I was introduced to this in college, and spent many happy hours with friends listening and singing along. I recently saw the Royal Albert Hall performance on PBS, and while I enjoy Josh Grobin's voice, I was not at all pleased with the re-writes and changes to the score. It seemed to be watered down and to have lost some of its soul (i.e.- all but one reference to the American being gay were removed--for pc reasons?) This version has a more gutsy, meaty sound, and to me feels more impassioned. I recommend this version for those who are fans of the music itself. It has a wonderful score and is superbly performed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The U.S. has never appreicated Chess like it should

    Chess has always been an out-standing musical. At least one song was a commerical hit here, and several topped the charts in Europe. The songs range from sad and tragic, to catchy and impossible to get out of the mind. I only wish I could find another copy that was taped which included several other songs which I have been unable to find. Whether a person gets into the lyrics or the melodies, "Anthem", "I Know Him So Well", and especially "Nobody's Side," is best appreciated in a moving car, with the windows up, and sung with at the top of your lungs!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    You really need to hear this album!

    Bjorn Ulvaus and Benny Anderson, the "musical machines" of ABBA, in collaboration with Tim Rice, have really put together a great album! If you know of and love ABBA's recordings, then I believe you will love this album!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2014

    This is one of my very favorite musicals! Just amazing!!

    This is one of my very favorite musicals! Just amazing!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Amazing!

    I'm so happy with this musical, it sounds really really good. I'm kind of bumbed that I won't be able to see Josh Groban in the musical in the role of Anatoly Serviaski (sp?) But anyway. The musical sounds really good. My favorite is "The Deal (No Deal)" its really good. Buy it. I want to see this now. He got me involved with CHESS!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Love this musical!

    First heard about this musical when Josh Groban was set to perform in a one night only concert of this in New York. He played the Russian. I love this musical now. He is set to play the same part in May of 2008 at the Royal Albert Hall in London. If you live in London: GO TO THIS CONCERT! You don't know what you're missing if you don't go.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Chess is fantasitc

    I had the unique opportunity of listening to the sound track years before I actually saw the play therefore I was already in love with the music which made the play even more enjoyable. The songs speak to your heart. This is a wonderful piece of work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Wonderful Soundtrack

    I came upon this album late in life and really enjoyed the music without knowing the story of the album. A friend in Theater explained the time frame for the soundtrack and the story and it just added another layer to an already great work. I would recommend listening with an open heart and enjoy the story and music...then go look into the era that it speaks of.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fantastic Music! Go listen to it!

    Okay, it's not the best story in the world. But the music is still great! From pop through ballad to semi-classical, everything's there. Don't deny yourself. Get it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I LOVE Chess

    As a big fan of ABBA and Tim Rice, I love their collaboration musical. The crazy music and great lyrics are fun to listen and dance to, and I think the story is OK - after all, the music DOES support it. Give this CD a try...I think you'll love it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews