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Chess (Original Concept Album) [Soundtrack]

Tim Anderson Benny / Ulvaeus Bjorn / Rice Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 24.89 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Product Details

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

Product Description


Chess is a musical that sounds like it shouldn't work but instead succeeds surprisingly well. This is the original concept album that was recorded before the musical was staged in London. Chess is the story of a love triangle told against the backdrop of an international chess tournament during the height of the cold war. The composers are Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus (the Bs in ABBA) and the lyrics are by Tim Rice, who supplied the words for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, as well as Disney's Aladdin (with Howard Ashman), The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast. The six-member cast does a beautiful job with the songs, which are a combination of ballads, rock, and operatic choruses. Murray Head's version of "One Night in Bangkok" became a surprise hit in the mid-'80s and it still turns up on the turntables in dance clubs around the world. --Michael Simmons

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Square One You'll be Watching All 64..... June 15 2004
By Meerkat
Format:Audio CD
I purchased Chess when it originally came out in album form, and will admit that I originally bought it only because I wanted a copy of One Night in Bangkok. It took me about five minutes to become completely enthralled with the entire album. From Merano to the Embassy Lament to Nobody's Side, there are several amazing songs in this musical (my personal favorite being Anthem).
The concept cast is phenomenal. The six principal singers are absolutely fantastic. The singers from the Broadway recording do not begin to compare to the cast featured on the concept album. In fact, I was rather disappointed with the version of Chess that finally made it to Broadway (some of the best songs from the concept album didn't make the cut to the final version).
The instant Chess was made available in CD format, I purchased it. It is well worth the cost. The concept album is by far the better of the two versions available.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Neglected Bittersweet Masterpiece Aug. 7 2003
Format:Audio CD
I use the word "bittersweet" when describing this show. For not only is the score and text bittersweet, but so is the tale of this show. What started as a concept album (what you will hear here)turned into an impressive and moderately successful show in London's West End, and, subsequently, a disastrous flop on Broadway. Why it failed in New York we may never know. Granted, the show was drastically changed, perhaps too "Americanized." Maybe the shows plot (a cold-war love triangle of sorts set amidst various chess tournaments) was too timely and contemporary for the Broadway audiences of 1988. Or, perhaps the show was in the shadow of a little musical which also came to Braodway around the same time called PHANTON OF THE OPERA. Whatever the case, it's really ashame.
Start to finish, this has to be one of the most amazing scores ever composed. Benny Anderson and Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA created a perfect blend their signature pop music, brassy show tunes, and operatic anthems.
Just as impressive is the lyrical genius of Tim Rice. Rice, known for writing the lyrics to EVITA, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and THE LION KING (to name just three), gives us here his most heartfelt, passionate and personal lyrics. The combination of these lyrics with Anderson & Ulvaeus' score is heard to its fullest effect on songs like ANTHEM, HEAVEN HELP MY HEART and the heartwrenching finale, YOU AND I. I read somewhere that, at the time of the making of this album, Rice was carrying on an affair with the shows leading lady, Elaine Page.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Restate for Clarity... Jan. 10 2002
Format:Audio CD
Yup, it's dated because of the cold war, but aside from this it is as good or better than any musical I have seen to date -- and I see a LOT! A review I wrote a while ago states it best:
Before we ever saw the musical, my wife and I fell in love with this beautiful original score. Full of passion and complexity, it makes the heart soar. Then, years later in England, we saw this original version on stage. SPECTACULAR!
Then, unfortunately, there's the American musical revamped version (audio is a red, white and blue cover) -- what is labeled The Broadway Cast recording. What an utter disappointment. Typically unchallenging and unpassionate. This seems to be what Americans want. I am an American, but can't stomach this mutilated version!!!
My advice: Stick to the beautiful original -- it is NOT just a concept album, it has been and continues to be performed in this breathtaking version (audio is a black cover with white chess squares) all over the world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chess is the best Musical idea ever Nov. 3 2003
Format:Audio CD
The use of a chess match as an analogy of the Cold War may sound like one of the worst ideas for a musical ever. However, Tim Rice, Bjorn Ulaveus, and Benny Andersson take the idea and make it into pure theatre. The problem: The book made this show seem cheap and incomprehensible.
This album records the show at its best. The original London show moved some of the songs (Pity the Child to the first act, a horrendous move). The Broadway show, which changed the plot, thereby ruining it, has a better cast in my opinion. (Listen to Judy Kuhn sing anything, and you will melt. Philip Casnoff is also a more vocal and less screaming Freddie. I like him better) This show is very eighties, but it has heart and melody in abundance without being cheesy and sentimental. "Nobody's Side" will make you swear off relationships forever, while "Mountain Duet" will make you want to fall in love (especially in the Alps) My favorite songs include "Nobody's Side", "Anthem", "The American" (the rock interlude in "Merano") "Florence Quits/A Taste of Pity" and "The Deal (No Deal)" "Pity the Child" is brilliant... Ok, so I love the whole show. Serious Chess fans will also buy the Danish cast (in English) and the 2002 Swedish cast (in Swedish... you'll swear it was first written in Swedish! The orchestrations are great) As well as the Broadway version. There is also a 1994 Swedish cast that is basically a second-hand re-hash of this album.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing score
Was expecting more of the whole thing knowing songs like "I know him so well" and "One night in bangkok" were such huge hits back then. Read more
Published 18 months ago by SG
4.0 out of 5 stars Something about it
I love this CD....I've never seen it but I heard that a while ago, there was a concert and Josh Groban sang "Anthem." The music is brilliant...amazing... Read more
Published on Sept. 7 2005
5.0 out of 5 stars Chess (1986 London Concept Cast - 1997 Polydor Slimline Rele
Chess (1986 London Concept Cast - 1997 Polydor Slimline Release) [CAST RECORDING]~ Benny Andersson (Composer), et al is very good and I usually hate musicals since they are stupid,... Read more
Published on June 17 2004 by B. Viberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Checkmate!
The year was 1984, and two guys from a 70's disco band, along with a legendary Broadway lyricist, decide to make a musical about a Cold War chess game. Read more
Published on Feb. 23 2004 by "hewovy"
4.0 out of 5 stars 80s Power
In the midst of being in the local high school summer production of Chess, I had to get the soundtrack. This being only one in the nearest FYE store, I bought it. Read more
Published on July 29 2003 by Rachel
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Better than the Broadway version...
This is an absolute masterpiece. Admittedly, the storyline of the musical is a little weak, and at times, the plot lapses into moments of pure silliness. Read more
Published on June 17 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars A model of great music
So, I bought this LP (as in record...I'm dating myself) when it first came out in 1986. I got it because of the "One Night In Bangkok" frenzy. Read more
Published on June 3 2003 by Jennifer Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Chess - Such an 80's thing
Chess was yet another "rock" musical following on the success of Jesus Christ, Superstar. It used an unlikely venue (a chess tournament) for a love story that wasn't all... Read more
Published on May 5 2003 by Carolyn Grinberg
4.0 out of 5 stars Not much between despair and ecstasy.
This album has a tremendous amount of cache because it was the musical that never was. Enemies of Andrew Lloy Weber usually say that this was the "greatest eighties... Read more
Published on Jan. 29 2003 by JR Pinto
4.0 out of 5 stars Great score almost ruined by lousy recording
I was one of the lucky few who saw the London production of CHESS and it was one of the best nights I've had in the theatre. Naturally I bought the original concept recording. Read more
Published on Jan. 3 2003 by Stephen J. Maestas
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