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Padre Antonio Soler

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Antonio Francisco Javier José Soler Ramos, usually known today as Padre Antonio Soler, (baptized December 3, 1729 - died December 20, 1783) was a Spanish composer whose works span the late Baroque and early Classical music eras. He is best known for his keyboard sonatas, an important contribution to the harpsichord, fortepiano and organ repertoire.

Soler was born in Olot in Gerone, Catalonia. In 1736, when he was six, he entered the choir school of the great Monastery of Montserrat where he studied with the resident maestro Benito Esteve and organist Benito Valls. In 1744 he was appointed organist at the cathedral in Seo de Urgel and appointed as a subdeacon there. Later in his life, he held posts as chapel master in Leride and El Escorial.

Soler took Holy Orders at the age of 23 and his routine with the Jeronymite order near El Escorial, Madrid was a simple one for the next 31 years. His 20-hour days were filled with prayer, contemplation and farming — a simple and unadorned life. Yet, in these austere surroundings, Soler managed to produce more than 500 musical works. Amongst these were around 150 keyboard sonatas — many were believed to have been written as sheet music for his pupil, the Infante Don Gabriel, a son of King Carlos III. Other pieces include villancicos and masses for Christmas and other religious events. No portraits of Soler are known to exist.

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