Debussy composed the suite with four movements in 1888, fresh after his return from Italy where he had spent time on a scholarship at the Villa Medici in Rome as the winner of the Prix de Rome. He performed the work with Paul Dukas at the Paris Conservatoire in 1889 and it was very well received. Henri Busser was amongst the students, and it was he who arranged the suite for orchestra in 1907, when Debussy was already famous. The composer immediately thanked Busser in a letter for his "ingenious orchestration". Today, it is one of Debussy's most frequently played works, both in its original form as well as in the numerous arrangements.