Spanish composer and organist. He probably began as a chorister at his local church; later he moved to Valencia, where he became second organist in 1665 and first organist the following year. In 1668 he was ordained to the priesthood.
His works include sacred vocal works (a 6-voice Mass, a Magnificat, a Beatus vir, motets in Spanish) and many organ works, especially tientos. Cabanilles is considered by many the greatest (and certainly the most prolific) Spanish Baroque composer.
He was certainly the greatest of the Valencian composers of organ music, and together with Correa de Araujo the most important organist of the 17th Spanish Musical Century.
Cabanilles works for organ are the culmination of previous trends in Spanish organ composition, and at the same time they open new pathways for composers who followed him. Cabanilles was the last of the Spanish mystic organists, and we find within his works the germ of the new musical form: the Sonata.
The Library of Catalunya, conservator of almost all the manuscripts of the works of Cabanilles, has published diverse volumes of his organ compositions. Although he knew the compositions of the Italian and French schools perfectly, his compositions are highly Spanish and Valencian with melodic-harmonic turns that are peculiar and that, later, other Valencian masters continued to use as models.
The titles of his compositions are highly Spanish and Valencian: Tientos of all kinds, Battles, Tocatas, Paseos, Pasacalles, Gaitilla, Xácara, etc. His known vocal work until today consists of ten compositions for voices and continuo, reaching thirteen voices in Ah, de la Region celeste. In these works, Cabanilles creates a moving lyricism, and in Mortales que amáis he uses the same theme that later J.S. Bach used in his "Saint Matthew Passion."
His music is sometimes so far ahead of its time that dating it would be decidedly difficult if the manuscripts of the Eighteenth Century did not exist.