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Christian Drew is a composer and performer based in London. His music ranges from works that draw on baroque, medieval, shoegaze, noise, ambient and folk music, to loose and flexible pieces that invite many possible outcomes. He’s written music for ensembles like the London Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Plus Minus and EXAUDI, and soloists including Psappha Ensemble’s Benjamin Powell, lute player Elizabeth Kenny and soprano Juliet Fraser. He studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the University of Southampton... read more.

Photo: Sam Walton

solo piano [6’]

“...one of the most interesting solo piano pieces I’ve heard for a long time. Perhaps because it’s a kind of study, in which an ornamented and embellished, neo-baroque melodic line is played against accompanying chords from a different era and style. Christian Drew said the result was ‘like Chopin on acid’, but by the time both elements were in the lower range of the keyboard the effect was also reminiscent of Brahms’s thick chording. There’s more to it than a two-element experiment, though, as the ‘accompaniment’ at times becomes a melody element in itself and rhythmic structures are contrasted as if two different things are happening at once.”
Robert Beale, The Arts Desk
More Parlour Music draws loosely on the sounds and performance practices of eighteenth and nineteenth century keyboard music. There are no direct quotations; instead I tried to let my subconscious warp and reimagine my own experiences of romantic harmony and baroque melody.  

Written for Benjamin Powell as part of Psappha Ensemble’s ‘Composing For Piano’ 2022.

BOBBY D 2021
violin, harmonium, two guitars, percussion and harmonicas [9’]

The title is an accidental pun on Laurence Crane’s Bobby J for electric guitar. I was chatting with Patrick Hegarty about putting the piece together and told him we might both have to muster up our best Bobby D impressions (aka Bob Dylan).
Written for Laurence Crane’s 60th birthday.

Performed by Lara Agar, Darius Paymai, Patrick Hegarty, Christian Drew and Harry Harrison at the Festival of Laurence Crane.

full orchestra [3’30”]

view score
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“That strange sound effect you can hear at the start of Christian Drew’s Double Chorus, played first by clarinet and alto flute, but soon spreading across the whole woodwind section, is a timbral trill: a trill between different fingerings of the same note to create an unstable fluttering pitch that is fixed, but has an inner life of its own. Combined with the use of wah-wah mutes in the brass, and slow vibrato glissandos in the strings, it contributes to an uncannily destabilised orchestral sound that persists to varying degrees throughout Christian's piece. Of the two choruses of his title, one sounds distinctly inebriated – the music is marked ‘wavy, woozy’, and later, in case of doubt, ‘still woozy’.
There are clues at the beginning, however, to a second, more poised kind of music. It begins as percussive chimes – vibraphone, glockenspiel, celesta, as well as pizzicato (plucked) strings – whose resonances fade into the hazy textures of the rest of the orchestra. But soon they transition into florid melodies, ornamental and sure of themselves, first played sotto voce (literally 'under the voice') and then with increasing certainty. Through the middle section of the work, it is this second chorus that has its hands on the wheel. But inevitably it too succumbs, and the piece concludes with an evaporation into fogs of glissandos and clouds of detached staccato droplets.” 
– Tim Rutherford-Johnson

Composed for the London Symphony Orchestra as part of the LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme 2020-22.
email: christiandrew@hotmail.co.uk
© Christian Drew 2022