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Mozart is said to have composed this septet for oboe, two horns, and a string quartet in 1776 for the 25th birthday of his older sister, Maria Anna (known as "Nannerl"), possibly in memory of their days together in Paris 10 years earlier. The opening and concluding marches carry the note Marcia alla Francese ("march in the French style"), further emphasizing the French flavor of this piece.
At its premiere, this ballet for a principal couple, four demi-soloist couples, and a corps of 16 was danced by equal numbers of dancers from New York City Ballet and Dance Theatre of Harlem.
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