Palm Court Waltz: Weekend Competition

Julian Jacobson
Image credit: Roger Harris

It’s time for a weekend competition. Today’s prize is a copy of the score of this majestic, rousing, and effective duet written by pianist, composer and professor of piano at the Royal College of Music and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Julian Jacobson. Julian has been composing for many years and his work is published by Schott Music and the Bardic Edition Music Publishers. This piece has an interesting history, which Julian explains:

‘My Palm Court Waltz for piano duet is the latest in an occasional series of waltzes for various instruments I’ve been writing since the 1980s, and which have been performed by artists such as Steven Isserlis, David Geringas, Paul Silverthorne, Lydia Mordkovich and Johannes Goritzki. It is dedicated to the memory of Richard Rodney Bennett and written shortly after his death in 2012. After some revision it was published earlier this year.

I knew Richard reasonably well in his later years and played in his 70th and 75th birthday concerts. I always felt a kinship with him, having also played jazz and composed film scores in the past. So I was shocked and saddened at his sudden death – I was present and spoke to him at his final London appearance where he opened the 2012 London Jazz Festival with a sparkling set with the singer Claire Martin – and decided right away to compose some form of tribute. Anyone who knows the marvellous waltz of Richard’s score for “Murder on the Orient Express” will pick up the quote at the end of my own waltz!

My piece has a further origin: back in 1996 I performed on the Swan Hellenic, the first of many music cruises, and wrote a waltz for the final Gala concert. At some point I lost the manuscript, but I always remembered the opening melody. It seemed to owe a particular debt to Richard in his light music mode, so I used it as my main theme and built a concert waltz around it, giving the first performance in 2013 with my duo partner Mariko Brown.’

I have one copy of the Palm Court Waltz to give away, and if you’d like to win it, please leave a comment in the comment box at the end of this blog post, and I will announce the winner on Monday evening (British time).


Melanie Spanswick has written and published a wide range of courses, anthologies, examination syllabuses, and text books, including Play it again: PIANO (published by Schott Music). This best-selling graded, progressive piano course contains a large selection of repertoire featuring a huge array of styles and genres, with copious practice tips and suggestions for every piece.

For more information, please visit the publications page, here.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. The Palm Court Waltz would add a wonderful dimension to my current “palm court” repertoire; As Time Goes Bye, Blue Moon, Betwitched Bothered and Bewildered etc… all of which I am honoured to say, I played at The Carlton Hotel in Cannes

  2. amypianist says:

    This duet is lovely, I can imagine playing it with my collegues on two pianos to make it covid safe!

  3. Sarah Martin says:

    When working at Jaques Samuel Pianos many years ago romance blossomed between me and a colleague through playing duets together in our lunch hour. We have now been married for 36 years and still enjoy playing duets. It would be lovely to have a new duet to explore together!

  4. Camilla Li says:

    Lovely duet! 🙂 wish I could perform this in Hong Kong🎹🎹

  5. Jill Morton says:

    What a wonderful duet! It would be a brilliant piece to include in any concert programme – I’m now programming it for when lockdown ends and we can perform again. And of course, always a pleasure to hear you both perform!

  6. Ray Alston says:

    A spiffing additiion to the four-palms repertoire… a beautiful composition and excellent perfornmance. Bravo.

  7. Many thanks to all those who took part in this competition, which has now ended 🙂

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