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(London, 1956-1967)

Prepared by Elvidio Surian
Online only (2022)

Ricordiana. A Quarterly Musical Review [RIE] was published by G. Ricordi & Co. Ltd., the London branch of the Milan-headquartered Casa Ricordi. Founded in 1875, the British office published English-language versions of many standard operas as well as a large amount of vocal and instrumental music by British composers.

Ricordiana was published without interruption from April 1956 to April 1967. Each of the journal’s four annual issues consists of sixteen pages, numbered separately and printed throughout in a single-column format. Kenneth W. Straker was editor of Ricordiana from March 1958 until his death in June 1964.

The journal deals primarily with topics of informative and critical interest, principally concerning contemporary musical activities in England and Italy. It is structured as follows:

(1) The opening pages are dedicated generally to critical essays on the protagonists of current operatic repertory—Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini, Francis Poulenc, Manuel De Falla, among others—and to biographical sketches, with extensive lists of their works and portraits, of notable Italian and English exponents of contemporary music. Among those profiled are Mario Zafred (July 1957, January 1967), Alfredo Casella (January 1958, January 1965), Ildebrando Pizzetti (April 1958), Sandro Fuga (July 1958, October 1964), Bruno Bettinelli (January 1959), Goffredo Petrassi (April 1959), Richard Arnell and Gail Kubik (January 1960), Giorgio Federico Ghedini (January 1961, April 1965), Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (October 1961), Edgar Varèse (January 1962, April 1966), Flavio Testi (July 1963), Ottorino Respighi (April 1964), Vladimir Vogel (April 1964), Nino Rota (July 1965), Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (January 1966), Franco Alfano (October 1966), and Sylvano Bussotti (October 1966).

In addition, major interpreters active in London are essayed, including conductors Carlo Maria Giulini (July 1958, October 1965), Nino Sanzogno and Renato Fasano (April 1959), and Richard Bonynge (April 1964); singers Beniamino Gigli (April 1958), Joan Sutherland (January 1959), Renata Scotto (October 1962), Tito Gobbi (July 1963), Joan Carlyle (October 1964), James McCracken (July 1965), and Gwyneth Jones (January 1967). Among the musicologists and music critics who contributed to the extensive essays are Andrew Porter, Arthur Jacobs, John S. Weissmann, Stanley Sadie, Frank Walker, William Weaver, Charles Cudworth, David Upton, and John Waterhouse.

(2) Various rubrics, which constitute the most cogent and informative section of the journal, are arranged as follows:

(a) A “London Letter” appears regularly and is signed by London critics A. Jacobs (1956 to 1960), Eric Mason (1961-1964), and Frank Granville Barker (1965-1967). This column provides an ample account of concerts and operatic productions, with special reference to the Italian repertory, of the city’s theatres (Covent Garden in particular) and concert halls. A notable feature is the reproduction of numerous operatic scenes and portraits of the principal interpreters.

(b) The “Italian Notebook” features criticism and reports, chiefly by contributors to the Milan edition of Ricordiana / Musica d’Oggi (1958-1965). Adelmo Damerini, Giacomo Saponaro, Mario Rinaldi, Eugenio Gara, Andrea Della Corte, and Roberto Zanetti give accounts of notable operatic performances at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala and the Piccolo Teatro, Spoleto’s Festival of the Two Worlds, and other major Italian theatres.

(c) Published regularly are also the rubrics “Notable Public Performances” (in London), “Interesting Recordings” (of complete Italian operas, with list of interpreters), “Outstanding Broadcasts” (on radio and television of operas, ballets, orchestral and instrumental and vocal works produced in England), and “Some recent performances” (in London and in provincial cities).

(d) A detailed and updated list of recent publications of vocal scores, librettos, instrumental works, and reprints, published by Ricordi.

The journal ceased publication in April 1967 without explanation. This RIPM Index was produced from copies of the journal held by the Royal Academy of Music and the Westminster Music Library (London).