Discovery Series: Padre Antonio Soler - Entrada

May 25, 2022

Discovery Series: Padre Antonio Soler

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Padre Antonio Soler is probably the most significant Spanish musician of the 18th century. His work displays a fascinating link between his teacher, Domenico Scarlatti, and the early Classical period. At only six years old, Soler entered the boys’ choir at the Monastery of Montserrat and embarked on a life filled with music and devotion to his faith. At only 17, he was appointed choirmaster at a cathedral in a regional capital. In 1752, at age 23, he became choirmaster and organist at the royal cathedral, El Escorial, where he became a monk the following year.

Evidence points to Soler having studied with Domenico Scarlatti as early as 1752 and continuing until Scarlatti’s death in 1757. Soler maintained an intense work schedule but managed to be a prolific composer and theorist, producing over 150 keyboard sonatas, six concertos for two organs, motets, masses, and a treatise called, “The Key to Modulation.” According to Padre Samuel Rubio, who cataloged Soler’s works, this treatise, “owing to its progressive theories regarding modulation started one of the most heated arguments to be found in the history of Spanish music.”

Frederick Marvin, a disciple of Claudio Arrau and a predecessor of mine as professor at Syracuse University, spent over ten years in Spain researching Soler and his music. Professor Marvin gave an outstanding recital in 2000 to celebrate his 80th birthday. Particularly memorable was his performance of Soler’s Sonata in D Minor, M. 8. A few years afterward, I assigned the work to a talented student, but only recently revisited it and learned it myself.

It’s a captivating work with gripping climaxes at the ends of each of its two main sections. I’m very pleased that Entrada has just released my performance and 25-minute tutorial of this impassioned work in a new Masterclass. Although there are “late intermediate” technical aspects of this sonata, we’re filing it as “Early Advanced” as it is musically advanced, and lends itself to sophisticated rhythmic inflection and finger substitutions with double-thirds scales:



One response to “Discovery Series: Padre Antonio Soler”

  1. Lynda M says:

    This is such a great series introducing fresh repertoire for students and teachers. The analysis and technique tips are wonderful!

    I would like to use this Solor Sonata in d minor M8 with students. The IMSLP numbering is different (‘R’) and there are many collections available to purchase. Could you possibly include a source for the score you are using in your video presentation?

    Thank you so much for your work!

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