Padre Antonio Soler must surely be one of the most original keyboard composers of the 18th century. The few surviving details of his life – including his eventual isolation in the El Escorial monastery near Madrid – have up until recently drawn a veil over his music; only now is he being discovered, with releases like this paying tribute to his extraordinary output.
Soler’s love for the solitude of his cell certainly bore fruit: he composed an astonishing 471 works throughout his 30-year career, and the strictness of his monastic environment seems to have left no trace in his compositions. On the contrary, cheerful jollity and a sunny, playful disposition characterise his music. Soler’s style is on the one hand firmly rooted in the Spanish polyphonic keyboard tradition of Cabezón, but on the other hand there is the clearly discernible influence of Italian instrumental music of the time, as musical taste changed rapidly from a
Baroque style into the more galant and Classical style. His music also often harks back to the Spanish folk music tradition giving it a typically Iberian colour.
This collection brings together all of Pieter-Jan Belder’s complete recordings of Soler’s keyboard works, which he has been releasing over the past eight years on the Brilliant Classics label, to great acclaim. Belder is a true scholar of Soler, and has used both the older Rubio edition of the works as well as Marvin’s more updated version, making this release stand out from previous Soler recordings. The collection benefits from the use of different instruments, such as the fortepiano, and the last disc features Soler’s truly extraordinary six concertos for double organ, which he apparently wrote for the Infante son of King Charles III. These are performed by renowned organists Maurizio Croci and Pieter van Dijk, who searched high and low for the perfect place to record these highly unusual works – to great effect.
The most comprehensive collection of Keyboard Works by Soler!
Padre Antonio Soler spent most of his life in the monastery of El Escorial near Madrid in his native Spain. He wrote an astonishing number of 471 sonatas for the keyboard, one-movement works in brilliant instrumental style, charming, sunny and tuneful, they may compete with the famous keyboard sonatas by his contemporary Domenico Scarlatti.
Pieter-Jan Belder made fame having recorded the complete Scarlatti Sonatas, and his Soler recordings are on the same high level of musical insight and virtuosity: a sheer delight!
As a bonus the recording is included of 6 sonatas for two organs, by renowned organists Maurizio Croci and Pieter van Dijk.
Recorded between 2007 and 2010 in The Netherlands and Italy.
Notes on the music and artist biographies.