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Antonio Soler (12/03/1729 - 12/20/1783)

The Catalan composer Antonio Soler had his early musical education at Montserrat. In 1752 he joined the Jeronymite order at the Escorial, where he became maestro de capilla. He was able to study with Domenico Scarlatti in Madrid and became involved in some controversy with his important book on modulation, Llave de la modulación (‘Key to Modulation’), which laid down the principles of modulation and how to shift from one key to another. His interest in the theory and history of music was considerable and was coupled with an enthusiasm for other branches of learning, including mathematics. He was also employed as a consultant on the construction of new organs.

Keyboard Music

Soler is principally known for his many keyboard sonatas, of which he wrote about 120. In some of these, typical Spanish rhythms and turns of phrase appear.

Instrumental Music

Soler’s six quintets for string quartet and organ and his six concertos for two organs form the body of his surviving chamber music.

Vocal and Choral Music

Soler contributed in particular to the Spanish religious villancico, of which he wrote 132. There are also settings of the Mass and a setting of the Lamentations for solo soprano with cello, double bass and continuo. He wrote three gypsy villancicos that have particular appeal.


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