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Chess (Original Concept Album) Soundtrack

4.6 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 23 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Decca - Universal Special Imports
  • ASIN: B000002GLR
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #29,668 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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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

Product Description

File ABBA. 2CD set original 1984 recording of the Benny Andersson & Bjorn Ulvaeus hit musical written with veteran Tim Rice.


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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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