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Opus 68 "The Twa Sisters o' Binnorie"
for SATB voices a cappella

Written in 1922, this miniature work sets a North Country ballad: CBR had used the same story for his three-act opera "The Two Sisters" Op.55 (composed 1916-1920).


This strange Northumbrian ballad about sexual jealousy between siblings held a particular fascination for Cyril Rootham, and he used it as the basis for three separate works:
  •   Op.55 The Two Sisters (three-act opera: 1916-20)
  •   Op.57 The Two Sisters (concert overture: 1918)
  •   Op.68 The Twa Sisters o' Binnorie (part song: 1922)

The ballad "The Twa Sisters" is discussed in some detail in a fascinating article on Wikipedia. The same story (with variants) appears in Scandinavian, Polish and Hungarian literature.

The Twa Sisters: the harper with the drowned sister

Illustration: intricate cantrips blog


Publication status

Originally published in 1923 by Curwen & Sons Ltd, this part song has been out of print for many years. But thanks to Stewart Thompson we now have a newly-typeset version, which we intend to publish in the course of 2019.

The Twa Sisters o' Binnorie: Curwen edition 1923

"The Twa Sisters o' Binnorie": original 1923 edition by Curwen & Sons Ltd


About this recording

Disclaimer   In the absence of a live recording, we can only play a synthesized MP3 file generated from the typeset score. It makes no artistic claims, and should only be used to gain a rough impression of the work.