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Born in Lille, Édouard Lalo (1823-1892) studied the violin before leaving home for good, against his father's will, to enter the Paris Conservatoire. Having graduated without family support, he began to make a living in the capital as an orchestral violinist and violist and as a member of the Quatuor Armingaud (from 1855), one of many such ensembles which sprang up within a culture of chamber music that was then supported by the foundation of the Société nationale de musique. Lalo's Cello Sonata in A minor is relatively unknown, despite it's obvious beauty and clear Schumannesque qualities. Charles Koechlin (1867-1950) studied composition at the Paris Conservatoire with Jules Massenet and Fauré. He composed frequently, producing a huge opus of well over 200 works, and in a fluent style distinguished above all by it's melodic invention, with supple and eloquent melodic themes. In that regard, the spirit of Fauré is never far away in the Cello Sonata Op.66 - allusive, imbued with a retrospective spirit which unfolds into a kind of accompanied recitative, quintessentially cellistic. Koechlin wrote the Sonata in October 1917 in a flurry of chamber-music activity. Gabriel Pierné (1863-1937), also an alumnus of the Paris Conservatoire, was a successful musician and won the coveted Prix de Rome in 1882. Pierné became one of the most influential musicians in Paris, more at the time through his conducting than his composing. He introduced audiences at the Concerts Colonne to countless premieres of lasting significance, and was one of the principal conductors for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, conducting the world premiere of Stravinsky's Firebird. Pierné's single-movement Cello Sonata in F sharp minor is in a cyclical form, following the example of Franck and Liszt.