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Opus 38
The Stolen Child

Written in 1911-12 by the composer Cyril Bradley Rootham (CBR), this setting of W B Yeats' 1886 poem "The Stolen Child" has a haunting and poignant feel to it.

History of this work

Op.38 "The Stolen Child" exists in two versions: the original 1911 setting for SATB and piano, and the 1912 setting for chorus and orchestra. Rootham dedicated the 1912 version to his wife Rosamond and his young son Jasper. The lyrics (from the poem by W B Yeats) are shown on the right.

Publication status

The sheet music for this work is not yet back in print. But the good news is that typesetting is now complete, so we intend to publish both versions during 2018.

Editorial note

The 1912 orchestral version is 4 bars longer than the original 1911 score for SATB & piano (bars 96-97 and 137-138). Our new edition of the vocal score includes these missing bars which are indicated by brackets in the vocal score. The bar numbering in the vocal score has been altered so as to match the orchestral version. The additional bars in the 1912 orchestral version are actually rest bars for the chorus, and the conductor can choose to omit these extra bars if the piece is performed as the 1911 version with piano accompaniment only.


By permission of the Master and Fellows of St John's College, Cambridge
We are very grateful to St John's College for allowing us to consult the original autograph manuscript, thus enabling us to reconcile the 1911 and 1912 versions of this work.

Opus 38: dedication

Dedication to the composer's wife (RMR) and son (JStJR)
on the opening page of "The Stolen Child" (1912 version)

Live performance

We are looking for a choral group to record a live performance for the Rootham website. If your choir is interested in recording "The Stolen Child" for this website, please use our Feedback page to contact Dan Rootham.

The 1912 version requires the following forces: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in B♭, 2 bassoons, 2 horns in F, harp, 1st violins, 2nd violins, violas, cellos, double basses, SATB chorus.

Available to download

For a broader musical experience, you can download this wonderful 1986 Richard Hickox recording session with the Sinfonia Chorus, the BBC Northern Singers and the Northern Sinfonia of England. These recordings include not just Op.38 "The Stolen Child", but also Op.51 "For the Fallen", Op.61 "Miniature Suite", Op.84 "The Psalm of Adonis" and Op.93 "City in the West".

You can download the entire Richard Hickox album of Cyril Rootham's music in FLAC (CD quality) or MP3 format from Presto Classical:
  Cyril Rootham Op.38 "The Stolen Child"


The poet W B Yeats

William Butler Yeats

The Irish poet W B Yeats
photograph: Library of Congress (LC-DIG-ggbain-00731)