In this issue, Paul Riley explores Handel’s Messiah, and how it became Christmas’s most renowned work – despite being originally written for Easter. Seasonal music spanning nine centuries performed by the renowned Choir of The Queen’s College, Oxford features on your cover CD. We introduce you to this Christmas Day's TV adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s Mimi and the Mountain Dragon, and we reveal this year’s carol commission: Owain Park’s setting of Frances Chesterton’s evocative poem Here is the Little Door.


Plus, Richard Morrison meets the music directors of seven parish church choirs who have established excellent music traditions, while several leading musicians reveal their greatest bugbears about life as performers.

Also this month, Simon Heighes visits the EMI Archives, home of some of music’s greatest treasures. The countertenor Andreas Scholl and keyboardist Tamar Halperin talk to James Naughtie about their new album together, Twilight People.

We name the finest recordings of Massenet’s opera Werther and Mily Balakirev features as our Composer of the Month.


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

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