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Opus 38
The Stolen Child

Written in 1911 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.

Until the opportunity arises to record a live concert, we are providing a synthetic performance generated from the Sibelius score.

History of this work

Opus 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 hope to publish both versions during 2017.

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, and until then we are providing this synthesised recording without words. 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 more immediate musical experience, there is the wonderful 1986 Richard Hickox recording with the Sinfonia Chorus, the BBC Northern Singers and the Northern Sinfonia of England. You can download the Hickox recording as an MP3 track from Amazon:
  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)

The Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was highly regarded in both Ireland and Britain, and was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival.