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The newly-unearthed and re-released Palm Court Orchestra catalogue is as crisp as the day it was performed!
07 Sep 2020
Yet another part of the immense Sweet Peach legacy has come to light once again! Lately, the work has been doing with distributing the gargantuan catalogue is worthy even of the work that originally went into the label itself… a story that is too long to tell here, but click here to read the whole thing! In the meantime, for the Orchestra lovers in the audience today, there’s a one stop shop here straight from Sweet Peach, and that’s the one and only Palm Court Orchestra!

The Palm Court Orchestra was formed in 1974 to play light music and popular classics from the Edwardian Era. Their repertoire included a wide variety of songs from diverse genres such as ragtime, waltzes, musical comedy, Tin Pan Alley songs, and classical works composed by Edward Elgar, Antonín Dvořák, and many others.
The Orchestra’s formation began when a small group of student musicians came together to perform at the annual Queen Street Fair at the home of aspiring musician John Godfrey. As they were playing a varied set-list of early 20th Century “salon” music, music producer and songwriter Jim Stewart happened to pass by, and stopped to listen to their performance. At the end of the day, Stewart signed the group to his label, and the Palm Court Orchestra was born.
During this time, they became the owners of the Benvenuti Orchestra Collection, a vast library of late 19th / early 20th century light music. The collection contains roughly 20,000 orchestral arrangements, dance songs, chamber music, instrumental songs and other works. The Palm Court Orchestra used this collection to record several of their records, which furthered their interest in “salon” music, waltzes, ragtime, and other similar styles of music.
In 1976 the ensemble released their debut album Nights Of Gladness which was arranged, conducted and directed by Godfrey, and produced by Stewart and Doug Ashdown, and the album’s title track became their first single. Their sophomore record Graceful Years was released shortly afterwards. The rest, as they say, is history. From there, the ensemble performed very successfully across many Australian hotspots, and have also brought their star to audiences abroad! They also played for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth on a number of occasions, as well as for Prince Charles & Princess Anne, and at the reception of Elton John’s wedding.
In 2009 the collection of songs recorded by the Palm Court Orchestra were re-released as 3 brand new albums: Dancing On a Summer Lawn; Ragtime At The Ritz; and Supper At The Trocadero under Jim Stewart’s record label – and that’s where Sweet Peach once again shows their love of music, by refusing to let it go uncatalogued and die. These releases ensure that the timeless performances of classic light music is never forgotten, which is why it’s wonderful that the Palm Court Orchestra’s extensive work has been released on Spotify, as well as all other major online retailers and streaming services! It holds true to Stewart’s vision, and we’re all too happy to see this legacy unfold in realtime thanks to the magic of the internet. If there’s one silver lining to people being trapped in quarantine, it’s that there’s more time than ever to listen to music, and whether Palm Court Orchestra is a classic to you, or if you’re discovering it for the first time, either way, you’re welcome in this exhibition! The same goes for if you discovered Palm Court Orchestra by themselves, or through one of these many compilations through which they are featured. Love for music takes many forms!

This is a slice of orchestral music history that demands proper respect and preservation, and Sweet Peach and Blue Pie are here to deliver. That’s why Sweet Peach’s entire catalogue, including Palm Court Orchestra’s work, is now distributed on services such as Spotify. No longer will we have to miss out on hearing these amazing tracks… and the best part is, the physical Sweet Peach collections are still quite rare! Have fun, all you collectors and recordheads out there! But for the rest of us, the music is often enough. Thankfully, that’s exactly what we can get. Sweet Peach’s catalogue going online is one of the best things to happen musically this year, and Palm Court Orchestra is just one example of why!

Palm Court Orchestra’s catalogue is but a taste of the whole experience waiting for you within Sweet Peach’s overall catalogue… But if you’re still curious about the extent of Sweet Peach’s impact on the music world, check out their discography and the full documentation of their story below which we used excerpts from! And of course, their shiny new website.

The legacy of Jimmy Stewart and the rest of the crew from Sweet Peach is still alive and well, much to our delight. Sweet Peach Records are digitally distributed by Blue Pie Records for the world, and is protected/has its rights managed by Ordior. We are honoured to be responsible for the distribution of such a prestigious label and catalogue, and this teamwork is a testament of our appreciation for this little slice of Aussie musical history.

And if you needed more info on the Palm Court Orchestra specifically, check out some of the interesting tidbits in the links down below! Palm Court Orchestra are distributed under James Stewart Music. For more information search “Palm Court Orchestra”.



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