Ricordi & Co., G.

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Ricordi & Co., G.

Ricordi & Co., G. , famous Italian music publishing firm of Milan, founded by Giovanni Ricordi (b. Milan, 1785; d. there, March 15, 1853). As 1st violinist and conductor at the Fiando theater, he also earned small sums as a music copyist, and in 1807 went to Leipzig to learn music engraving in Breitkopf & Härtel’s establishment. On returning, he opened a little shop and began publishing in 1808, engraving the first works himself. He was a close friend of Rossini, whose operas he publ.; also recognized Verdi’s genius when the latter was still unknown. His son Tito Ricordi (b. Milan, Oct. 29, 1811; d. there, Sept. 7, 1888) succeeded to the business. In 1845 he established the Gazzetta Musicale, one of the most important Italian music publications; also introduced the Edizioni Economiche, and under his administration the house became the largest music publishing firm in Italy. He was on terms of intimate friendship with Verdi, whose works (especially Aida) made a fortune for both publisher and author. Owing to ill health, he withdrew from active management in 1887. His successor was his son Guilio Ricordi (b. Milan, Dec. 19, 1840; d. there, June 6, 1912), a man of extraordinary business ability, who continued the policy of expansion. In 1888 he bought, and consolidated with his own, the important firm of Francesco Lucca. It was he who discovered Puccini. A trained musician, he publ., under the pseudonym of J. Burgmein, much elegant salon music (160 opus numbers). He was ed. of the Gazzetta Musicale until his death, upon which the magazine ceased publication. His son Tito (b. May 17, 1865; d. Milan, March 30, 1933), a remarkable pianist, was the subsequent head of the house; he retired in 1919, and control of the firm left the family; it became a limited company in 1952. The catalog contains over 120,000 numbers, and in the archives are the autograph scores of more than 550 operas by the most famous Italian composers. The firm has branches in N.Y., Canada, Australia, and South America.


G. Adami, G. R. e i suoi musicisti (Milan, 1933); E. di Valperga, R. (Rome, 1943); G. Adami, G. R., L’Amico dei musicisti italiani (Milan, 1945); C. Sartori, Casa R., 1808–1958: Profilo storico (Milan, 1958).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire