Gentili – Two sonatas for violoncello and basso continuo (preface, score and parts in PDF)
Giorgio Gentili was surely one of the most influential musicians in Venice at the beginning of the 18th century. In 1702, or even earlier, he was appointed maestro di instromenti at the prestigious Ospedale dei Mendicanti in Venice, where musicians such as Legrenzi, Biffi and Galuppi worked. In 1689 he became a violinist in the San Marco orchestra and shortly after, in 1691, he was appointed concertmaster. Under his direction he had musicians like Veracini or Giovanni Battista Vivaldi and Antonio Vivaldi. Surely this fact is related to the notable influence of Gentili’s concerti on those of Antonio Vivaldi.
Gentili’s departure from the Ospedale dei Mendicanti in 1717 coincides with the departure to Dresden of other famous Venetian musicians such as Lotti, which gives rise to the suspicion that Gentili was also hired along with these musicians by the Elector of Saxony during his trip to Italy.
Gentili was one of those rare musicians who only played instrumental music, at least as far as we know. Gentili published six volumes of music:
Op. 1. Suonate a tre, 1701
Op. 2. Concerti da camera a tre, 1702
Op. 3. Capricci da camera a violino e violoncello o cimbalo, 1707
Op. 4. Suonate a tre (lost)
Op. 5. Concerti a quattro e cinque, 1708
Op. 6. Concerti a quattro, 1716
Apart from this work, we find two interesting manuscripts in the Library of the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory in Venice that contain the only two known sonatas for cello and basso continuo by Gentili.