The Magical Music Box

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The Magical Music Box, more commonly known as The Music Box was a British children's magazine. It ran from 1993 to 1997 in a series of 52 monthly serialisations. The aim of the magazine was to introduce children into classical music and to popularise this form of music among the younger generations.

The stories followed the fictional adventures of two siblings, Sarah and Jamie who find a magical music box through which they are able to enter other worlds, most commonly as spectators.[1] The stories were generally related to other children's tales or fables, such as issue 38 (King Arthur & The knights of the round table) or issue 27 (The Imperial Robes).

The dramatisations were produced by IRDP, Independent Radio Drama Productions on request of Marshall Cavendish Partworks Ltd[2]


The magazine cost £3.99 (with a tape) or £4.99 (with a CD) per issue.

  • A different fortnightly story involving the siblings Sarah and Jamie
  • A CD or tape with each issue
  • The story in spoken word with an accompaniment of classical music
  • The classical music on its own
  • History behind the stories and the music
  • Facts about the relevant composer and instruments
  • The formula for the magazine was simple. It followed the adventures of Jamie and Sarah, siblings who seemed to be magnets for danger. The stories had no sense of realism and were pure fantasy. The children seemed to be running around having adventures with no money, food or supervision. It is a pure fantasy which excited the youths imagination at the time. The music was used to construct the narrative through the adventurers and to the conclusions. That is why the magazine came with a tape or CD so you could listen to the story and the music.The magazine also had a strong educational element after each story. The narrator introduced the learner to each part of the music that had been played, and explained which instruments were used.



The magazine won a Gold Medal and a Grand Award Trophy for Entertainment Programming at the International Radio Festival 1994 held in New York. These were for the drama in issue four, The Wizard's Spell.

List of magazine sub-titles[edit]

A list of the issue names and the music which accompanied the stories

1. Journey to the Stars - The Planets by Gustav Holst
2. Hall of the Troll King - Peer Gynt Suites by Edvard Grieg
3. Sky Racers - Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony
4. The Wizard's Spell - Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky
5. House of Terrors - Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz
6. Daylight Robbery - Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin
7. The River God - Ravel's Bolero
8. Night of the Aliens - Bach's Orchestral Suite No 4
9. The Bull Fights Back - Bizet's Carmen Suites 1 and 2
10. Animal Rescue - Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saëns
11. Sindbad and the Kraaken - Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherezade
12. Musical Misfits - Mozart's Flute and Harp Concerto
13. Nightmare Gallery - Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition
14. The Highwayman's Mask - Viennese Waltzes by Strauss
15. The Dell of Time - Vivaldi's Four Seasons
16. The Big Freeze - Violin Concerto by Brahms
17. The Bowman and the Baron - Overtures by Rossini
18. The Valkyries - Music from Operas by Wagner
19. The Spinning Wheel - Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty Suite
20. Wagon Train West - Dvořák's New World Symphony
21. Fireworks! - Music for the Royal Fireworks by Handel
22. On Thin Ice - Borodin's Polovtsian Dances
23. Fire-Bringers - Beethoven's Symphony No 5
24. The Captain's Curse - Nocturnes by Debussy
25. Eve of Battle - Solo Piano Pieces by Chopin
26. Black Angus - Overtures by Mendelssohn
27. The Imperial Robes - A Little Night Music by Mozart
28. Space Envoys - Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 2
29. Boomerang! - Symphonies Nos 5 and 6 by Mahler
30. Bird of Fire - Stravinsky's Firebird Suite
31. Lost and Found - Schumann's "Spring" Symphony
32. Pyramid of Khonsoul - "Surprise" Symphony by Haydn
33. Showdown in Maverick - Rodeo by Aaron Copland
34. The Long Shadow - Piano Concerto No 1 by Franz Liszt
35. Festival of the Sun - The Love of Three Oranges by Prokofiev
36. The Sea Princess - Debussy's La Mer
37. The Monks' Treasure - Solo Pieces for the Organ by J.S. Bach
38. King Arthur's Sword - Symphony No 40 by Mozart
39. The Magic Lyre - Piano Sonatas by Beethoven
40. The Great River - The Moldau by Smetana
41. In the Spotlight - Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite
42. Beyond the Wall - Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss
43. The Lady's Tale - Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
44. Outlanders - Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
45. The Savage Flames - The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky
46. Sealed Orders - Symphony No 1 by Brahms
47. Caught in the Act - Dance Suite by Béla Bartók
48. On the Battlefield - Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture
49. Trouble with Time - Mussorgsky's A Night on the Bare Mountain
50. Treason and Plot - Baroque Music by Albinoni, Pachelbel and Corelli
51. The Happy Dragon - Schubert's Symphony No 5
52. The Little Soldier - Symphony No 9 by Shostakovich


  1. ^ "The full script from Issue 11". Archived from the original on 2006-09-29. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  2. ^ "Information on the Magical Music Box from IRDP". Archived from the original on 2006-12-09. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  3. ^ [ "Something Old: The Magical Music Box - Rediscovering Culture"] Check |url= value (help). Rediscovering Culture. 

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