Ahead of the summer festival season, we uncover the secrets to creating a great British festival. Trumpeter Alison Balsom talks to us about taking the reins at Cheltenham, one of Britain’s most renowned festivals.


This month’s BBC Music Magazine Interview is with Krzysztof Penderecki, Poland’s greatest living composer. He sits down with James Naughtie to discuss his legacy as a composer and conductor, the stagnation of new music and the joys of his arboretum, the place in which he feels happiest.

The results of our poll with RadioTimes.com to discover the greatest film theme of all time are released in this issue, with Michael Beek uncovering what it is that makes a great movie theme.

Also this month, we explore the ongoing issue of instruments being damaged in air travel, and take a look at what the airline industry is doing to avoid this. We also look back on the remarkable American bass-baritone Paul Robeson, for whom music and politics were inseparable in the fight for equality.

We name the finest recordings of Gershwin’s Piano Concerto and suggest which works to explore next. Plus, the great English Baroque composer Henry Purcell is our Composer of the Month. On your cover CD this month is Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony, based on the poem by Lord Byron.

More like this

Click the image below to download the inlay for this month's free cover CD.

Previous issues of BBC Music Magazine