Biography of Antonio Soler (músico español, 1729-1783)

Spanish composer, born in Olot, Girona, on December 3, 1729, and died in El Escorial (Madrid) on December 20, 1783.


At age 6 he was admitted to singing in the school choir of the monastery of Montserrat. There he studied organ and composition with Benito Esteve and Benito Valls. In 1744, he held the post of organist of the Cathedral of la Seu d'Urgell, in the province of Lleida. In 1752 he entered the order of the Jeronimos and moved to the monastery of El Escorial, where he spent the rest of his life and where they currently rest his mortal remains. Between 1752 and 1757 Soler received lessons from Domenico Scarlatti and José de Nebra, who influenced him in his later work. In 1753 was ordered priest and throughout his life he combined duties as a member of the religious community with the master of Chapel, organist, composer and music teacher of the infante Gabriel of Borbón, son of King Carlos III. Its functions as Chapel master were tasks prepare the choir, to compose religious music and also music profane during frequent visits to the Spanish monarch and his family made to the monastery.

One of his best friends was the also composer and religious Giovanni Battista Martini, which maintained a fluid epistolary relationship between 1765 and 1771.


Soler wrote a large number of religious works including his ten masses, fifty Psalms, Magnificats nine, sixteen motets and a few hundred thirty cantatas and carols. As an organist, he dedicated some works to this instrument, as its six concertos for two organs or the six quintets for strings and organ Quartet.

More than one hundred and fifty sonatas for harpsichord composed, many of them dedicated to his student Don Gabriel, have some influence of Scarlatti, especially that consist of a single movement and binary form. But Soler also took aspects of other musical languages as the Viennese Classicism (see classical music). Also in the works for the gerundense keyboard is heard his taste for the pattern of accompaniment called "under Alberti", created by the composer Doménico Alberti and which consists in carrying out the triad chords in the left hand of arpegiada in the following order form: first note more, secondly the most acute severe, then the middle and finallyagain the sharpest.

Another relevant aspect of his work is his interest in the songs and dances of Spanish folklore. The best example of such interest is its famous Fandango.

Much of its production was not printed, and many manuscripts have been lost. In addition, Soler was a great connoisseur of music theory, and paid close attention to the issue of the tuning of the instruments. That led him to build a device that was used to split a tone in nine parts and thus facilitate the tuning. His writings on music theory among the entitled key modulation (1762), even though he wrote some other treaties that are not related to music as a combination of coins and manifest calculation (1771).

Antonio Soler. Sonata in c-sharp major.


CAPDEPON VERDÚ, P. The P. Antonio Soler (1729-1783): biography and musical work. Olot, regional Historic Archive d´Olot, Museu Comarcal de la Garrotxa, 2000.

RUBIO, S. Antonio Soler: critical catalogue. Cuenca, religious music of the Provincial Institute, 1980.

VV.. Hommage international to Antonio Soler: 1729-1783. Madrid, Directorate-General for cultural relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1979.

Discography selected

Concertos for two organs(+ Sonatas and Fandango). Performers: Scott Ross (harpsichord), Ton Koopman, Tini Mathot (organ). ELEKTRA 27005. Fandango and sonatas for keyboard. Cast: Maggie Cole (harpsichord). EMI 61220. Sonatas. Cast: Marie-Luise Hinrichs (harpsichord). EMI 56940. -Variations of the Spanish fandango (works of Albero Sebastián Soler, Josep Galles et to the.). Performers: Andreas Staier, Adela González-Campa, Christine Schornsheim. ELEKTRA 21468.