Saint-Saëns’s chamber music broke new ground in France at a time when public taste tended to favor opera. His first sonata for violin and piano, one of the earliest composed in France, is a masterpiece of boundless beauty. Its emotional impact and its highly poetic content are served by the composer’s perfect mastery of formal architecture. The second sonata, composed in Egypt, is very different from its predecessor: more serious, classical, and intimate. These two masterpieces are complemented by the Fantaisie for violin and harp and the charming Berceuse, one of Saint-Saëns’ best-known miniatures.