Petite Messe Solennelle has been characterised as neither little, nor solemn, nor particularly liturgical. It was described by the composer as “the last sin of my old age”. It was written in 1863 for the Countess Louise Pillet-Will, and orchestrated by the composer in 1867, partly due to a fear that it would be orchestrated after his death anyway. It remains one of his finest achievements and the outstanding work of his retirement.
Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) was an Italian composer who is best remembered for his operas, among them being The Barber Of Seville and William Tell. He left Italy and retired to Paris in 1855, where he was buried.