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Josep CERVERA Bret

Peralada 1883 - Roses 1969


Born in Peralada on September 1st, 1883. He belonged to a long lineage of musicians with strong ties in Catalonia, particularly the parishes of Peralada, Figueres and Roses, where he spent most of his life.


In Peralada he received the musical training from his father, Jaume Cervera-Marques, who was the director of the School of Music of the Peralada Palace from its foundation in 1882 by Antonio Rocabertí-Boixadors Dameto and Verí, Count of Zavallà until its closing in 1914.


This school was intended primarily to serve the children of employees of the castle but, soon after, had its services extended free of charge to the children of Peralada and the surrounding villages - to provide them with training in music which, provided that they had the necessary qualities, would allow them to aspire a career as a professional musician. Thus, upon completion of their studies, the counts would present students the instruments with which they had studied so they could begin their career as musicians.


Initially Josep Cervera assisted his father in teaching music classes and took the opportunity to learn all the instruments that were available to him, finally deciding for the double bass - using the technique from Bottesini’s method, the maximum reference in the instrument at the time. His father then, sent him to study in Barcelona for a month, with the best teacher at the time, Pedro Valls, professor at the Conservatory of the Lyceum. There, Jose Cervera would spend 8 to 10 hours a day practicing the instrument. He also studied harmony and composition by mail with an establishment in Pamplona.


In 1903 founded the orchestra in Los Noys de Perelada, being its director Josep Cervera. But in mid 1905, is required to meet his cousin-brother James, who had just died at age 17, to go to the couplet former bassist Joe Figueres with his uncles Felip, and Augustí who was the director. In this couplet remained there until 1940.


In Figueres developed its musical career, from 1905, as a musician of a band with Antiga Pep Band  ofFigueres, very famous at that time to Catalonia and Languedoc-Roussillon, in addition to the other tours in 1907 and 1914 to Paris, where they were hired to go to the theater now known as Olympia Bruno Coquatrix, London Colisseum (now the London Opera ) in London to perform sardana concerts. This gave them to the possibility of record "stoned based records" pieces of catalan composers at Pathe Records and go along with the offer in New York to continue the tour, the musicians rejected that option on beacuse of family responabilities.


In many occasions they always wanted to offer an outstanding, Josep Cervera acted with the bass soloist, made hitherto unpublished, and accompanied by musicians of the orchestra. The bass, hitherto regarded as an instrument esclusivament accompaniment, was released as a solo instrument and as well as concert. He gave recitals as in 1904, both Spain and abroad activity that did not leave until 1959.


In 1910 obtained a prize in a contest to Figueres fairs with the Santa Cruz Dream bruixenc Sardana. In 1951 he made the words and music of the Beach Dance of Roses premiered in the festival next year. Also composed the music of the Dragon Dance of Olot.


His side as a composer is concentrated mostly in the bass as a solo instrument and in concert, something very novel at that time, because the bass was an instrument rated and regarded only as a simple support and accompaniment of other instruments, it was almost impossible to find parts designed and composed for this instrument.


Bottessini Giovanni, the Italian bass was a great promoter of this instrument as a soloist, created schools that did not get to Barcelona until the end of the nineteenth century that the hand of Pedro Valls, a professor of bass at the Conservatory of Lyceum, Josep Cervera had to be one of its most prominent disciples.


The musical production stretches over a period of about 60 that year since 1907 until 1960, and are mostly primary and compositions for solo bass. It is worth noting the high technical quality of the compositions and the musicality of the same, which makes them very easy and close to the general public.


The background music consists of some 100 pieces, and comprises over 60 dedicated parts, designed and created specifically for the showcasing bass as a solo instrument, 18 sardanes for brass and 12 pieces of varied subjects (dance, religious works or Christmas) among which the Beach Ball of Roses or the Dragon Ball Olot. Is there any Sardana, Bruixenc The Dream, which was awarded at fairs and festivals of the Holy Cross in 1910 in Figueres


Towards the end of the 80 family, making cleaning the attic and the house rerabotiga Roses, came to light many documents, papers, photographs and books, including a regitsell of musical scores and manuscripts, different from relatives of the family Cervera, which made us think that what was transmitted orally could be reality. A documentary and music to make us reflect and think that we had to preserve it, promote it, disseminate it and make it available for the same musicians who value the quality of works.


Josep Cervera-Bret, highlights one of its aspects, for a musical production focusing on the bass that makes it especially attractive because of the scarcity of music compositions for double bass solo instrument.


Since then the family has focused its efforts on the preservation and dissemination of funds, having achieved its goal of digitizing its part in 2009, specifically music, for easy reference by experts, musicologists, musicians , bassists and teachers.

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