Gioacchino Rossini, (born 1792 in Pesaro, died 1868 in Paris) had a stormy career. Having grown up in the Italian lyrical tradition, his talent for composing opera manifested itself at an early age. He made his mark with the operas 'Tancredi' and 'l'ltaliano in Algeri', works which secured his place as the most important exponent of lyrical opera in his time. The unimaginable fame and enormous successes began to take a toll however, and, at the age of thirty-seven, Rossini decided to lay down his pen. Years of travelling and searching for inner peace followed. These years were marked by weak health and deep depressions. Only in 1853, when he decided to settle in Paris, did he open up again to the outside world and resume the life of enjoyment we still associate with him. This was also around the time when the so-called 'Samedi-soirs' originated, evenings consisting of much eating and drinking, but also of much music-making. For these evenings Rossini composed a great deal of small-scale pieces which he called 'Pchs de Vieillesse' (Sins of Old Age). They are to a great extent pieces for small combinations of instruments. A strikingly large number of them are also for solo piano, despite the fact that he considered himself a fourth-rate pianist. 'L'Album pour les enfants adolescents' originated in the same way.