Diepenbrock’s Écoutez la chanson bien douce (Hear the Sweetest Song, RC 40) for voice and piano dates from January 1898. He initially wrote the song for mezzo-soprano in D major, but that same month he also made a version for soprano in E major. On 30 April the work was premiered in the latter version by Aaltje Noordewier-Reddingius and Anton Tierie (1870-1938).
Diepenbrock made an orchestration of the song in E major in October 1907, most likely immediately after completing the instrumentation of Les chats (RC 68/81) on 10 October. For his intimate Écoutez la chanson bien douce Diepenbrock used a small orchestra of only woodwinds, without bass clarinet and strings, without the double basses.
The orchestrated version of this song was not performed during Diepenbrock’s lifetime.