Chausson’s Trois Pieces in the form of three Nocturnes for solo piano, Op. 19, is a set of pieces written between 1879–1880 and published in 1888 (first two nocturnes) and 1890 (third nocturne). Chausson’s own catalogue indicates that the work was composed in 1879, though some scholars have suggested Chausson may have revised it around 1890. It is believed to be one of Chausson’s earliest works.
The first nocturne was dedicated to the composer/conductor Auguste Mustel and premiered in 1884 by Alexandre Pierre François Boëly (the son of the composer André Pierre Gabriel Broëly) at a Société Nationale concert. The second nocturne was dedicated to Chausson’s friend, the writer Jules Claretie, who premiered it in 1885. The third nocturne was dedicated to Chausson’s future wife, Louise Bertin. Chausson wrote this piece for Gabriel Fauré, who never played it.
The third nocturne is the only one Chausson himself ever performed in public. He premiered it at a Société Nationale concert on January 30, 1886 . Chausson’s friend, the composer/conductor Vincent d’Indy (1851-1931) later recorded Chausson playing his own compositions on piano rolls for Welte-Mignon in 1905.