Papers of Cyril Bradley Rootham

Scope and Content

Manuscript and printed copies of most of Rootham's compositions; works by other composers owned by Rootham; correspondence; miscellaneous items.

Administrative / Biographical History

Musician. The son of Daniel Wilberforce Rootham, singing teacher and conductor of the Bristol Madrigal Society, Cyril Bradley Rootham was born in Bristol in 1875. After attending Bristol Grammar School he entered St John's College as a sizar in 1894. From 1896 Rootham deputised as College organist and choir master, and in 1897 he graduated with a second class in Classics. From Cambridge Rootham went to the Royal College of Music, London. In addition to his studies he served as organist at Christ Church, Hampstead. After a short spell at St Asaph Cathedral, Rootham returned to St John's in 1901 as Organist, a post he would hold for the rest of his life. He was elected a Fellow of the College in 1914, and served the University as Lecturer in Music (Form and Analysis) from 1913 to 1918, and Lecturer in Harmony and Counterpoint from 1924. From 1912 Rootham also served as conductor of the Cambridge University Musical Society. He died in 1938.

A prolific composer, Rootham's compositions are largely forgotten. Though influenced by both the folk-song revival and the 'Celtic-twilight' school, Rootham's work is hard to categorise. His choral work, both with and without orchestra, is seen as his most important, though he also wrote an opera, a number of chamber pieces and two symphonies. Rootham's version of 'For the Fallen', written prior to Elgar's, is seen by many commentators as the better of the two.

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Open for consultation

Note

Musician. The son of Daniel Wilberforce Rootham, singing teacher and conductor of the Bristol Madrigal Society, Cyril Bradley Rootham was born in Bristol in 1875. After attending Bristol Grammar School he entered St John's College as a sizar in 1894. From 1896 Rootham deputised as College organist and choir master, and in 1897 he graduated with a second class in Classics. From Cambridge Rootham went to the Royal College of Music, London. In addition to his studies he served as organist at Christ Church, Hampstead. After a short spell at St Asaph Cathedral, Rootham returned to St John's in 1901 as Organist, a post he would hold for the rest of his life. He was elected a Fellow of the College in 1914, and served the University as Lecturer in Music (Form and Analysis) from 1913 to 1918, and Lecturer in Harmony and Counterpoint from 1924. From 1912 Rootham also served as conductor of the Cambridge University Musical Society. He died in 1938.

A prolific composer, Rootham's compositions are largely forgotten. Though influenced by both the folk-song revival and the 'Celtic-twilight' school, Rootham's work is hard to categorise. His choral work, both with and without orchestra, is seen as his most important, though he also wrote an opera, a number of chamber pieces and two symphonies. Rootham's version of 'For the Fallen', written prior to Elgar's, is seen by many commentators as the better of the two.

Preferred citation: St John's College Library, Papers of Cyril Bradley Rootham

Archivist's Note

26 Mar 2008

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