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Bobby Fischer Against the World

Bobby Fischer Against the World
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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!

Philip Sheppard is an accomplished film composer and virtuoso cellist.
His film soundtracks include In the Shadow of the Moon (winner of the Sundance Film Festival), The Tillman Story, Sergio, Bobby Fischer Against the World amongst many other award-winning films.
He has written for many major orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic.

Found tracks

Philip Sheppard - The Benoni opening
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Philip Sheppard - Match Fit
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Philip Sheppard - The Brooklyn Symphony
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Philip Sheppard - Led astray
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Philip Sheppard - Walking in Iceland
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Philip Sheppard - The Kid from Brooklyn
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Philip Sheppard - Bach on the Brain
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Philip Sheppard - The deep game
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Philip Sheppard - Make your move
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Philip Sheppard - The lyrical game
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Philip Sheppard - Endgame & epilogue
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