Giacobo Basevi Cervetto
(1686 - 1787)
Eight Sonatas for Flute and Basso continuo
Edited by Nona Pyron and Carol Fleisher
Realisations by Timothy Roberts
Grancino Editions EFS1a - d.
Score and parts in four volumes.
101 years old? No, it's not a typo. Cervetto actually did live to the ripe old age of 101!
Born in 1686, just one year after J.S. Bach, Cervetto outlived the great master by 37 years. His life spanned three musical periods, from the Baroque through the Roccoco and into the Classical era. When Cervetto died in 1787, Haydn was 55 years old, Mozart was a mature 31, and a 17 year old Beethoven was pulling up roots in the Rheinland and heading for Vienna.
Cervetto - his full name was Giacobo Basevi detto (i.e., “called”) Cervetto - like so many of his Italian compatriots, left Italy for London, where he pursued an active career as a cellist, composer and importer of Italian instruments.
In his 1914 book on the history of the violoncello, van der Straeten dismisses Cervetto with, “He composed sonatas and other works for the violoncello which are now totally antiquated.” (italics mine) Such was the arrogance of the early 20th century (what C.S. Lewis called “the arrogance of progress”). How can a work of art be “antiquated”? Could we say the same of the paintings of Michaelangelo or Rembrandt - just because they are older?
Those of you who have played or heard any of Cervetto's Six Trios for Three Violoncellos or Two Violins and a Bass (published for the first time since the composer's death by Grancino Editions in 1982) know just how deeply moving these exquisitely beautiful compositions are.
Now Grancino Editions is pleased to announce the publication of Cervetto's “Eight Solos for a German Flute with a Thorough Bass for the Harpsichord” (the original title), Op. 3, making this beautiful music once again available to musicians and the musical public for the first time in over 250 years.
The very active (and inter-active) bass line makes these sonatas also very performable as flute and cello duos – with or without harpsichord or other keyboard. Indeed, the original title page informs us that, “Six of these Solos are Printed for the Violoncello”.
Grancino Editions plans to publish this version of them very soon.