Sir Lennox (Randall Francis) Berkeley was born at Boar’s Hill, Oxford, on 12 May 1903 and died in London on 26 December 1989.
As an English composer from the same generation as Walton and Tippett he was not obviously related to the British national traditions represented by them or by Elgar and Vaughan Williams earlier. This is partly because of his French ancestry and connections which make him seem closer to Faure, or to Ravel and Poulenc who were both personal friends. Berkeley admired Mozart above all, then Chopin, Ravel and neo-classical Stravinsky.
His personal idiom is built from a genuine melodic expression, usually rooted in tonality, allied to a fastidious command of harmony and orchestral texture. Religious subjects in particular gave a spiritual intensity to Berkeley’s vocal music, as well as to his instrumental slow movements.