Cabanilles Barberà, Joan Baptiste Josep
Joan Cabanilles Barberà was highly regarded not only during his lifetime - his music continued to enjoy wide dissemination after his death as well.
He was born into a farming family in 1644 in Algemesí, a city near Valencia. He was the son of a tenant farmer from Majorca.
Valencia was one of the great Mediterranean metropolises, the capital of an empire with its own language and currency, a dynamic city with connections not only to the rest of Spain but also to Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. Corresponding to the economical importance of the city, there was, on the other hand, also significant cultural, humanistic and scientific activity. And this importance, in turn, also went hand in hand with the great splendour of liturgical ceremonies, which must be described as brilliant and extravagant. Eighty morning services and two hundred solemn vespers took place in Valencia Cathedral each year, with organ, numerous servers, several polyphonic choirs and choral schola, etc. Monumental works involving several choirs were performed at these occasions, either in Latin (Masses and Psalms) or in Spanish (Villancicos). It was in this environment that Cabanilles developed his musical activities, was appointed second organist in 1665 and finally first and only organist in 1666.
Between 1675 and 1677 he was also entrusted with the instruction of the choir boys. At any rate, besides his numerous organ works he composed several works for multiple choirs, including a Villancico for five choirs. He died in 1712 and was buried in the Cathedral.