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The septet was composed in 1879/80, commissioned for the Parisian Chamber Music Society “La Trompette”. Saint-Saëns had, however, hesitated for several years to comply with the request by the founder, Émile Lemoine: “I could compose a concerto for you for 25 guitars, but for trumpet – impossible!” Not only is the instrumentation that Lemoine requested unusual – trumpet, string quintet and piano – but also its stylistic proximity to Baroque suites. The septet in four movements, which quickly became popular due to the catchy nature of the music, proved to be the forerunner of numerous works in a neo-baroque style and is now published for the first time in a critical edition.

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