Soundtrack to the film 'Bobby Fischer Against the World' by Philip Sheppard
The great chess grandmasters inhabit a world we can literally never comprehend. A great chess match is a performance, a spontaneous composition of pure elegant counterpoint.
The supreme master of counterpoint in the entire history of music is J.S.Bach. Even as an experienced musician, I cannot begin to grasp how he processed vast amounts of mathematical musical data, rendering it into perfectly structured miniature cathedrals of sound. The inside of his brain must have had parallels with that of Bobby Fischer, but despite this vast intellect he (unlike Fischer) was able to live a life as a complete human being. (I mean, he had fourteen children for a start…).
Bach’s famous first prelude in C was my starting point for scoring Bobby Fischer against the World. I took the theme and turned it inside out – it begins as fragmented and hesitant gestures as if unsure before playing out to an inevitable endgame.
The whole of the rest of the score is composed from Bach’s themes – from the Goldberg Variations to the keyboard concertos. This piece below is based on the D minor keyboard concerto, though it’s totally unrecognizable as it’s more like a romantic American/Russian prelude that descends into a shameless waltz. This piece runs underneath the famous match between Spassky and Fischer known as the Game of Placid Beauty. This track was written in New York, against the clock when we were rushing to finish the film, and was a piece that went through so many versions and changes before settling on what became known as 'The Brooklyn Symphony'.
Cover image by the brilliant Josh Sommers!
released 04 July 2011
cellos, treble viol, electric cello
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