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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.

clarinet, violin, cello and percussion [6’]

See Slow Blue takes inspiration from the music of American indie rock band Yo La Tengo, conjuring their ‘lazy ambling slide guitars’ into a glorious, woozy hymn to slowing down.”
– Kate Wakeling, BBC Music Magazine 2021. 
Performed by London Symphony Orchestra players and released on NMC’s digital album Six Degrees of Separation.

Read more about the piece on NMC’s Discover blog here.

Buy or stream the album from NMC here.

flexible instrumentation [21’]

I've often looked out at two rooms in a derelict factory building outside my window. One is dimly lit with ambient orange lights, the other is lit by a bright pink fluorescent light. The orange room is lit almost all the time, but the pink room is only lit every now and again. I've never seen anyone in them. Soon the factory will be demolished to make space for new flats.

Orange Room and Pink Room were composed and recorded remotely across the national lockdowns in 2020-21. Both tracks started as a remote recording project with composer and violinist Lara Agar, and eventually turned into two scores that use different types of open and flexible notation. Pink Room was recorded in 2020, early on in the first lockdown, and served as a form of demo for Orange Room, which was recorded during the 2021 lockdown.
Performed by Lara Agar (violin), Jenny Akroyd (alto and soprano saxophone), Cara Dawson (harp), Christian Drew (accordion, guitar, harmonicas, kinder harp, percussion, piano), Abel Esbenshade (clarinet), Patrick Hegarty (guitar), Eden Lonsdale (cello, harmonium, percussion), Darius Paymai (harmonium, setar, percussion), Alex Tay (viola)

Download from Bandcamp here.
email: christiandrew@hotmail.co.uk
© Christian Drew 2022