Chess [Original Cast Recording]

Chess [Original Cast Recording]

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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

Overview

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.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/23/1996
Label:
Decca Broadway
UPC:
0042284744522
catalogNumber:
847445
Rank:
9743

Tracks

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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Chess [Original Cast Recording] 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my very favorite musicals! Just amazing!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago