The French popular male-voice choral movement known as the "orphéons" originated in the teaching of singing in a Parisian primary school at the beginning of the 19th century. Its popularity soon led to the creation of the Paris Orphéon choral society, and the movement rapidly expanded. Festivals and competitions multiplied and composers increasingly wrote for this type of all-male vocal ensemble, whose members were recruited from the various strata of society. Throughout his career, Camille Saint-Saëns wrote for Orpheons, for all kinds of circumstances. Little-known, these works nevertheless show his understanding of balance, his love of French prosody and his concern with form. These works are fraught with a sense of naïveté, manly pride and good-natured optimism.
Les Chantres Musiciens, directed by Gilbert Patenaude, stem from the famous boys' choir-school Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal, associated with Saint Joseph's Oratory in Montreal. They bring together young graduates who wish to continue singing.