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CERVETTO, JAMES (1749?–1837), the natural son of Giacobbe Basevi or Cervetto [q. v.], was born in London about 1749. He learnt the violoncello from his father, whom he soon excelled as a performer, his tone in particular being remarkably pure in quality. His first appearance took place at the little theatre in the Haymarket on 23 April 1760, when the advertisement stated that his age was eleven. The other performers at this concert were Miss Burney, aged eleven, Miss Schmaehling (afterwards celebrated as Mme. Mara), whose age was stated to be nine, though she was really eleven, and Barron, aged thirteen. After 1763 he travelled abroad, playing in most of the capitals of Europe; but he was in London in 1765, when he played at a concert given by Parry, the harpist. In 1771 he became a member of the queen's private band, and in 1780 he joined Lord Abingdon's private orchestra. On the institution of the Professional Concerts in 1783 Cervetto was engaged as soloist; at the first concert he played a violoncello concerto by Haydn. During the earlier part of his career Cervetto was in friendly rivalry with Crosdill [q. v.]; but on his father's death he inherited a large fortune and retired from the active exercise of his profession. The younger Cervetto was a member of the Royal Society of Musicians for seventy-two years. He wrote a few unimportant pieces of music, mostly for the violoncello. He died on Sunday, 5 Feb. 1837.

[Authorities as under Giacobbe Cervetto; Musical World, 10 Feb. 1837; Dictionary of Musicians, 1827; Annual Register, 1837, p. 175; Mendel's Musikalisches Conversations-Lexikon.]

W. B. S.