Violinist Paul Viardot, whom Faure dedicated this violin sonata to, was the son of a well-established singer, Pauline Viardot. It is not clear why he did not premier the piece himself. Its first performance was given on January 27th, 1877 at the Société Nationale de Musique (One of the founders being Camille Saint-Saens, and members included Faure himself, Cesar Franck, and Jules Massenet) by Gabriel and violinist Marie Tayau. Side note: Ms. Tayau's story is quite interesting as well. As stated in the linked article, she was made to believe that she would premier Tchaikovsky's violin concerto. The four-movement sonata is the pinnacle of beauty.
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