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). Alternatively, you can purchase the score, here.
For much more information about how to practice piano repertoire, take a look at my piano course, Play it again: PIANO (published by Schott Music). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, the course features a large collection of progressive, graded piano repertoire from approximately Grade 1 to advanced diploma level, with copious practice tips for every piece. A convenient and beneficial course for students of any age, with or without a teacher, and it can also be used alongside piano examination syllabuses too.
You can find out more about my other piano publications and compositions here.