There are various versions of this anonymous ballad that has its own traditional melody. Berkeley provided a folk-like setting in this song for Sophie Wyss (1897- 1983), the Swiss soprano living in England who gave important premieres of Britten. Wyss and Berkeley gave the first performance in a BBC broadcast on 13 July 1947.
He had already dedicated ‘Tant que mes yeux’, Op. 14, No.2/6 to her and with him she gave the first performance of that song as well as ‘Ode du premier jour de mai’, Op. 14, No.2/7 at the Fyvie Hall, London, on 20 February 1945. Those two songs were published, performed and recorded, but ‘The Low Lands of Holland’ has been neglected. It comes as close as Berkeley ever got to the English folk song tradition. This edition is based on the copyist’s score at the British Library and includes the corrections the composer provided with it.