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Off the record

Peter Tranchell was "larger than life" and always made an impression. In conversations and correspondence it seems that everyone has something to say about PAT and his output. Peter was a complex person with a varied and interesting life and works (as may be discovered in other areas of this website). Spontaneous observations from people who knew him or who have encountered his music and writings provide an interesting window on the many facets of PAT.  This page sets out to be an assemblage of such observations. All are "true", in the sense that we have not made them up, and we feel they were expressed sincerely. They are "off the record" because those making them wouldn't necessarily want to be quoted directly. But we would welcome more considered pieces on people’s experiences of Peter and his music that could be included (attributed) in this area of the site.

Some explanatory notes have been added in square brackets.

Peter could play anything! [on the piano]

It would be so interesting to hear more of his serious music. I think an awful lot [of what we sang in Chapel] was written just to annoy the Dean!

Those radio broadcasts [a series of educational reviews on Radio 3] were very entertaining.

I fear that most of my anecdotes are quite unprintable-but I was very fond of him, and he was incredibly generous to me.

Peter in my time [late 1960s] was just beginning to be rather worryingly unpredictable. He was mostly fantastic fun, but every now and then, the booze would clock in, and something rather disturbing would happen- often involving throwing things! Nevertheless, I will always treasure the evenings up in his rooms, when the wine flowed, and Ray Leppard would turn up at midnight, and they'd play on two pianos, or Peter would sing naughty songs, especially if his friend Dr Malcolm Burgess was there. Peter was never the same after Malkie died. Peter was so generous, and kind, even to third raters like me.

[of The Robot Emperor] an extraordinary work - but then a lot of what Peter did was extraordinary.

Peter had such a melodic gift.

I do remember him saying [in 1965] about the lovely song "The Spring will come and I shall not be here" that he felt that was the case with him - although, of course, he did live for some time afterwards. [until 1993!]

At his gatherings after the LNB ["Late Night Bar"] had closed & nursing a mega gin the lights would go off and Peter T with his face over a table lamp would often tell a ghost story. M R James take note. They were blood curdling & not just the altos screamed! They were often about a handsome Benedictine novice who haunted his rooms...
Come in come in, hello hello. Aw....I miss that voice and still hear it clear as a bell. Not a day goes by when I don’t remember PAT through something that reminds me just what a wonderful man he was.
I will never forget PTs lectures. Certainly made their mark!
Peter T. was a very good friend to me. Let me know if there's any help I can give.
It's also occasioned a rather good flashback...: PAT (jacket and orange jumper) outside the Senate House in animated conversation with - of all people - Mother Thomas More (aka Mary Berry).
... Which reminded me of a skit that (my lovely friend) Scottie [John Scott] sent me of an evening with Peter. His account ended 'cackle cackle [spills more gin]'.
He certainly could be naughty - he once put a transistor-radio circuit as an item in a gobbets paper (Identify the following...).
[in the 1970s] PAT was still spoken of as a legendary pianist.
Peter was an amazing musician and composer who should be more widely appreciated.
He was something of a mercurial genius.
He was always a radiator, never a drain, and extremely generous too.
I remember one supervision where the whole hour was spent on Baroque architecture, but that taught me more about polyphony and structure than a year of harmony and counterpoint classes. His compositions too were revelatory. At the time, the hegemony was the post modernism promulgated by William Glock at the BBC. Peter showed there were other courses to furrow, although sadly he was marginalised by the musical establishment.

Peter T's favourite composer, according to four different people: Berg, Coates, Wagner, Bach.