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Players of chess, players of music: Part 2 of interview with Lior Lapid

Lior Lapid in a game with International Chess Master Istvan Sipos
Chad Schneider
Lior Lapid plays chess with International Chess Master Istvan Sipos

In this second half of a conversation about chess and classical music, Lior Lapid and Leora Zeitlin begin by debating and discussing the achievements and career of International Chess Master and world-class concert pianist Mark Taimanov. Who wins the debate? You have to listen to find out.

Not surprisingly, the connections between chess and classical music are particularly strong among Russians of the 20th century, and the politics of the Cold War often bore heavily on those with careers in either (or both) fields. Lior and Leora go on to discuss composer Sergei Prokofiev, violinist David Oistrakh, cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, and chess master and opera singer Vassily Smyslov, as well as the Broadway show, "Chess." It was written by Tim Rice, and ABBA composers Benny Andersson, and Bjorn Ulvaeus in the 1980s, and is loosely based on the "Match of the Century" between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer.

Part 1 of this two-part interview can be found online at https://www.krwg.org/show/intermezzo/2023-10-06/chess-and-music-a-two-part-interview-with-national-chess-master-lior-lapid.

Musical excerpts heard in Part 2:

• “Polonaise,” from “Suite No. 1 for Two Pianos,” Op. 15 by Anton Arensky. Performed by Lyubov Bruk and Mark Taimanov (Great Pianists of the 20th Century, Philips #456736-2).

• “Montagues and Capulets,” from “Romeo and Juliet,” by Sergei Prokofiev. Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andre Previn (EMI #65690).

• Opening of third movement from “Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 19,” by Sergei Prokofiev. Performed by David Oistrakh, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, conducted by Bernard Haitink (Radio Netherlands #97014);

• “The Swan,” from “Carnival of the Animals,” by Camille Saint-Saens. Performed by Gregor Piatogorsky and unknown pianist (RCA #63861)

• “Endgame” and “Prologue,” from “Chess,” by Tim Rice, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus. Performed by the original Broadway cast and orchestra (RCA #7700-2).