May 6, 2021

Trilby’s Piano

Vocals: Pete Townshend
Chamber strings orchestrated by Pete Townshend
Orchestration supervised by Rachel Fuller
Violins: Gill Morley, Brian Wright
Viola: Ellen Blair
Cello: Vicky Matthews


Pete: "Josh’s widowed mother vests all her hopes in her brother Hymie becoming a great man. He falls in love with Trilby, Gabriel’s goofy blonde Aunt. Trilby is the one who has nurtured Gabriel’s great musical talent, unnoticed by his preoccupied mother. The kids decide to put on a musical play at Leila’s father’s studio featuring this song, and it finally breaks Josh’s mother’s resistance to the love match. The song is sung by Gabriel. The play is a naive children’s effort, but with a grand proscenium stage (like a large Victorian puppet theatre) a stairway and a cherub and angel filled backdrop."

Pete first mentioned this piece in a U.S. interview from Autumn 1996: "The piece I’m working on at the moment is quite a modest piece called ‘Stella’; out of that grew another piece called ‘Trilby’s Piano,’ which was a thing about something that happened to me when I was a kid with an aunt of mine–a very positive experience for me. I’ve started to look at the more positive experiences I’ve had in my life, and I find it very difficult to compose for that stuff because I’ve spent most of my time drawing on my negative experiences, or what I would call my growth experiences."

Not included in the live version of the mini-opera.