He received the first musical lessons from his father, a band musician from the military regiment. At the age of six he entered the Escolania de Montserrat, where he was taught by Benito Esteban and Benito Valls. He learned music theory and organ and, later, composition. He left the Escolania shortly before his seventeenth birthday. In 1746 he won the post of Kapellmeister at the Cathedral of Lleida, and it seems that he also worked in the Cathedral of la Seu d’Urgell.
In 1752 he moved to the Monastery of El Escorial, where he professed as a Jerome monk and, around 1757, he was appointed Kapellmeister. He completed his training with Domenico Scarlatti and José de Nebra and was appointed music teacher of the Infantes Antonio and Gabriel, sons of Carlos III.
He wrote many works, both religious and profane. He is one of the most important European composers of the second half of the 18th century and his work began to spread throughout the world from 1930. The musical production, in which the keyboard works clearly prevails, is part of the period transition from Baroque to Classicism, in the so-called gallant style. Besides being an organ performer, he was interested in its construction.
His creative activity can be divided into six sections: vocal music in Latin; vocal music in Spanish; theatrical music; keyboard music in which, departing from the Italian language and with elements of peninsular folklore, he creates his own gallant style, classic and contrapuntal; chamber music; and a theoretical study, a two-part harmony treatise.
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Manuscripts in the Real Biblioteca del Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El EscorialManuscripts in the Real Conservatorio de MadridManuscripts in the Biblioteca de CatalunyaSheet music on IMSLP
Preludi in C minor
, per a piano
for two pianos (arr. Emili Brugalla)