for cello and piano
The Stolen Child was inspired by the poem of the same title by William Butler Yeats. One of his best-known early poems, The Stolen Child is a literary exploration of the folk ballad form, and is on a theme common in Irish mythology, that of the human child who is stolen (in this case seduced, really) away from the mortal world by faeries. The faeries speak to the child of the sorrows and uncertainties of human life, contrasting this with the idyllic life (supposedly) led by the faeries.
The movement titles are lines from the poem. The first is the last line of the refrain that, in varied form, ends each stanza. This piece does not attempt to follow the narrative of the poem, but instead simply seeks to express the emotion or imagery of the poetic phrases.
The Stolen Child was composed in 2010 for my colleague at the University of Louisville School of Music, Paul York.