Merry Christmas! In this month’s issue, we meet the iconic film composer John Williams to reflect on his long and prosperous career in Hollywood, some of his greatest scores and concert music and his thrilling forays into conducting.
As is tradition, BBC Music Magazine has commissioned a special Christmas carol for our readers. This year’s offering is from composer Freya Waley-Cohen, who introduces us to ‘A candle sings of simple things’, her setting of a new poem by Charlie Cotton. Also this issue, enjoy our musical Advent Calendar, packed full with musical trivia, recommendations of festive recordings and much more.
James Naughtie meets the King’s College, Cambridge director of music Daniel Hyde for this month’s BBC Music Magazine Interview, while actor Simon Russell Beale tells us about the music that’s shaped his life. Daniel Jaffé celebrates our enduring love affair with the works of Gilbert and Sullivan and his personal experiences of singing alongside like-minded amateurs. Plus, Freya Parr meets the winner of this year’s Royal Philharmonic Society Conductor Award, the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s principal guest conductor Dalia Stasevska.
We name the best recordings of Bach’s Orgelbüchlein and Adolphe Adam – composer of ‘O Holy Night’ – is our Composer of the Month. You’ll find festive music from 21 cathedral and abbey choirs across the UK appear on this month’s cover CD.