On this day in classical music: David Diamond’s “Elegy in Memory of Maurice Ravel” received its premiere in Rochester, New York in 1938. Ravel had died four months earlier.
On this day in the musical theatre: “Chess,” a musical written by ABBA members Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, found success as a concept album released in 1984. A subsequent London stage production ran for three years. A much-revised version opened on Broadway in 1988 but only managed a two month run. The musical, which told the story of an American and a Russian competing in a world chess championship, captivated audiences with its score if not its plot. The musical produced one of the musical theater’s great anthems. Listen to David Carroll sing the “Anthem” from “Chess.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhqud-xjAi4
Musical musings: “Chess” is a surprisingly good score, something more than what the word “pop” means in even its widest sense. There are touches of rock in the “Terrace Duet,” and rather a dose of it in “No Control.” Anders Eljas’ orchestrations sound like those for no other show, with undulating melodic lines over the carousing of the xylophone — music for a war without borders. – From The Happiest Corpse I’ve Ever Seen, by Ethan Mordden.