The poem I Sing of a Maiden is one of the best known of the anonymous medieval hymns, deceptive in its simplicity and full of grace and faith. The setting by Lennox Berkeley also has a deceptive simplicity but reveals, on repeated listenings or performances, a harmonic integrity and subtlely that has made it a work that will continue to be performed and enjoyed for a long time to come.Lennox Berkeley was a fascinating character, the first (illegitimate) son of an earl who went on to have two more sons with Lennox’s mother, the woman who became his father’s wife. He was composing and having his works performed before he finished school, then upon meeting Ravel was introduced to legendary teacher Nadia Boulanger in Paris, with whom he studied. He mixed with the great artistic and musical names of prewar Paris before returning to Britain where he later met and lived with Benjamin Britten before the arrival of Peter Pears in Britten’s life. Berkeley was professor of composition at the Royal Academy of Music and himself composed more than two hundred works of music, many of them of enduring value.