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Domenico Gabrielli Program Notes and Sheet Music

Domenico Gabrielli (19 October 1659 – 10 July 1690) was an Italian Baroque composer and one of the earliest known virtuoso cello players, as well as a pioneer of cello music writing. Born in Bologna, he worked in the orchestra of the church of San Petronio and was also a member and for some time president (principe) of the Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna. During the 1680s he also worked as a musician at the court of Duke Francesco II d'Este of Modena. Gabrielli wrote several operas as well as instrumental and vocal church works.

He is especially notable as the composer of some of the earliest attested works for solo cello (two sonatas for cello and basso continuo, a group of seven ricercari for unaccompanied cello, and a canon for two cellos). Among his contemporaries, his own virtuoso performances on this instrument earned him the nickname Mingain (or Minghino) dal viulunzeel, a dialect form meaning "Dominic of the cello."

Gabrielli's music is characterized by its use of large dynamic contrasts, chromaticism, and extended techniques for the cello. He was one of the first composers to use the cello as a solo instrument, and his music helped to establish the cello as a major solo voice in Baroque music.

Gabrielli's music is still performed today by cellists and chamber ensembles. His ricercari for solo cello are considered to be among the most challenging and rewarding works in the cello repertoire.

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