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James Drew-Edwards
1952 -
Great Britain, England
J. Drew-Edwards
James Drew-Edwards (1952), an English composer, conductor and teacher.
Drew-Edwards: "I teach piano (all styles), and can also accompany singers & instrumentalists. I also teach composition (ensemble, vocal, instrumental, orchestral, and song writing - this can include working with Sibelius), arranging, improvisation, musical theory, and keyboard harmony. I have taught class music in schools for 11 years (ages 9-18 year olds), 'O' level (GCSE), 'A' level, and 'S' level (which no longer exists). I have written incidental music for plays, many songs, instrumental music, choral music, songs for musicals, a musical with author Leon Garfield, various orchestral pieces, a Requiem (performed at St. John's Smith Square in March 2011), etc."
Requiem Concert for Claire
Period:21st century
Composed in:2011
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
In memory of:Claire Bushnell, the composer's sister
Label(s):New World Music CD 077
This Requiem contains:
1. Requiem Aeternam 09:19
2. Kyrie 03:35
3. Sanctus 03:37
4. Benedictus 03:21
5. Agnus Dei 04:24
6. Lux Aeterna 05:14
7. In Paradisum 04:37
8. Pro Vivis 07:01
When James Drew-Edwards received a phone call, almost exactly a year ago, telling him that his sister was dead, the composer's thoughts turned, naturally, to music. The fact that Claire had taken her own life made it, as James says now, all the more urgent that he compose a requiem for her. "It was a cathartic process for me," he says on the eve of a concert for Claire in aid of Mind, the mental health charity. "It helped me come to terms with her death and consider the actual moment when she died." In this respect, James, 58, who lives in East Finchley, has written an unorthodox requiem - taken from a shorter piece he wrote for her funeral last year. "The usual language of a requiem is littered with words of guilt, anger and God's wrath. I have written a requiem - as in a laying to rest - but the theme of mine is lux aeterna, eternal light. So where a traditional requiem is dark and cross, mine is light and sweet but also dramatic, reflecting Claire's life and the way she passed from this world into the next. I have also added a new end section called Pro Vivis, for the living, because it is Claire's family and friends who need help to go on without her." Claire Bushnell, 54, had completed a spell at The Priory Hospital in Southgate, and was on her way home to her family in Saffron Walden, Essex. "She had phoned her husband, Patrick, early on the morning of Friday March 19 last year and said she was coming home. He said she sounded fine. She travelled three stops from Southgate and got out at Wood Green. She threw herself under the next Tube that came into the station." James has no idea why his sister suddenly decided to kill herself. "I went to the station the day after she died and spoke to the staff. They were so kind but there was no one factor between her conversation with Patrick and her death which would explain why she suddenly did what she did." Claire, who has three children, Matt, 25, Ollie, 23, and Nicky, 20, had been suffering from depression for around 15 years. "She was in a great state of anguish towards the end of her life and I think she was overwhelmed by hopelessness about her situation," says James, who as well as being a classical composer and pianist, teaches t'ai chi. Claire had become involved in the work of Camfed, a charity helping impoverished women educate themselves in sub-Saharan Africa, and this will also benefit from ticket, programme and CD sales at the concert at St John's, Smith Square, tomorrow night. The 47-strong professional orchestra and everyone involved in the concert have given their services for free. "It is a fitting way to remember Claire and I hope as many people as the church will hold will turn up to support these two great causes," says James.
Author:Deborah Collcutt
Source:London Evening Standard, 8 March 2011
Claire Bushnell