Our Lady’s song (1961) was commissioned for the Novello carol collection Sing Nowell and also appeared as the musical supplement of the September edition of The Musical Times in 1962. The Elizabethan Singers, conducted by Louis Halsey, gave the premiere on 26 October the same year at St Clement Danes. Maw was drawn to set medieval texts for his carols, because ‘I have always been interested in such old poems as I thought they were very genuine expressions of religious feeling of that time’. In this anonymous fourteenth-century poem, the Virgin’s lament to the baby Christ that he has been born merely in a lowly stable, amidst animals, and without clothes to be wrapped in, is set starkly throughout in two parts that at times imitate each other.
from notes by Andrew Burn © 2007