[ Fonè Philosophy ]

About Giulio Cesare Ricci

Giulio Cesare Ricci is not a relative of Franco Maria Ricci, or Nina Ricci, neither of Ruggero Ricci. He is a real Tuscan, born in 1958, who made his first recording at tender age of 11 years using a “Geloso” recording system.
After several experiences in different fields as: politics (in 1974 he organised the occupation of his high school, the “Liceo Enriquez”), marine (in 1976, trying to swim to the rock of Meloria in front of Livorno), sport (in 1977, becoming instructor of the Italian Tennis Federation) and culture (in 1981, brilliantly passing the exam of Russian literature history), in 1983 he married the record label fonè: from this marriage until now over 300 children were born. Giulio Cesare Ricci is a “big man”. This abundance is not only disclosed by his appearance or by his appetite, but also by the strength of the demonstration of his emotions. Being them of hate or, and it is better for those close to him, of love. Big men have an innate wisdom, are generous enough to move and sometimes evil, revengeful as only a 14th century mercenary knew and could be.

Ricci’s infinite passion and indefinable madness led him to become a creative activity himself: fonè. Fonè is giulio cesare ricci which is fonè. This identity brings him to take in first person every choice made by the company, the discoveries, the most daring experiments on sound, the uncalculated risk to produce records “only” for the love of music and sound.
Infinite, uncontrollable, indefinite. ricci operates without knowledge of tomorrow, not for lack of planning, but for pure pleasure of living the moment. While telling me of a new recording he was about to make with his Neumanns, he closed his eyes, bended his knees showing upward the palms of his big hands, as if tocatch the sound: he became a microphone! It is the absolute dedication to the sound.

[ The sound of silence ]

My dream

My dream has always been to record the sound of silence, and in silence to find the breath of life. To record the feelings and the emotions of people, as nearly as I can. The problem is not how to capture the space or the depth or the source of the sound, all this of course is fine and provides emotions, but is not in itself moving. To portray the smell of the concert hall, or the concentration of both performers and listeners, that is what is moving.
If we believe that recording means portraying truth by following objective, absolute criteria, then we have completely missed the point. When I record, I follow all my senses, which means not only what I hear, but more importantly the feelings that come into the soul and to the heart. For me, placing the microphones is something of a sacred ritual, almost a mystic art. I have to find, and I know that it exist and is waiting to be found, that pocket-handkerchief sized space of air where the whole atmosphere can be felt.

I measure the dimension with eyes and ears, I evaluate the materials, and, as an instrument-maker would, I ‘tune’ some gigantic structure like a church, a theatre or a music salon. And if the public are present, so much the better! Like an extraordinary acoustic trap, the bodies and the faces of hundreds of people make the sound more linear. If I could, I would record the bodies! And after, two, three, four microphones higher, lower, to the right, no, to the left… each time the conditions change and everything has to be discovered again, even the “emotion centre”. The microphones are eventually exactly there where they should be; I must be aware of everything, the beautiful women, the musicians, their state of mind, and remind myself of the flavour of the occasion… and then, draw everything together at that “centre”.
Reality on its own does not exist, it only exists in our own feelings. In truth, I record my own feelings, fonè is my gift to music and to all music lovers.
giulio cesare ricci

[ “Ricci’s Way” ]

Putting music in its proper place

While most youngsters dream of becoming engine drivers, police officers or fire fighters, giulio cesare ricci was different. All that this self-admitted non-musician wanted to do was to own his own record company, and 20 years ago the dream came true when he launched fonè. fonè is a record company with a difference.
It specialises in classical music but but never releases products recorded in a studio.
Ricci scours the Italian countryside for suitable natural sites in which to record music that ranges from Schumann to Scelsi, Rachmaninoff to Ravel. Ricci has chosen villa, churches, theathres and rooms in large country houses and confirms that he’s always on the lookout for other suitable settings. He has even travelled high in the French Alps to record a Schoenberg-Hindemit-Scelsi organ album.
“Classical music needs to be heard in the places it was born”, Ricci says. “Many classical musicians and artists don’t have a technological mentality. They feel better and closer to the music’s spirit when they are surrounded by great paintings and frescoes. Modern studios all too often have a cold atmosphere and lack any feeling”.
Ricci uses state-of-the-art microphones to record all products. A quest for perfection in natural sound also led to a Ricci project far removed from the classics. He spent a month on the UK’s North Sea coast recording foghorns. “I wanted to document Britain’s defences from the sea before ex-prime minister Margaret Thatcher dismantled them all”, he quips. He also ventured into recording more modern works. A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Big Parade, two releases on his fonè Nouvelle series, feature the Lindsay Kemp Company. “Kemp’s performances are classical”, he says.
“He uses original music by Carlos Miranda which has a modern taste that is often linked to earlier music. What I’m always trying to do is to present diverse genres of music which is classical”. He certainly achieves that. He has a Chopin and Great Pianists series, plus a Baroque range, Early Music and Magical Places.
Product on the fonè imprint is distributed on the international market in territories such as the US, South America, Asia and Europe. “The reaction has always been positive”, Ricci says. “It depends on the taste of the country for the strength of reaction. The Japanese will appreciate some releases more than Americans, and vice versa”. Ricci keeps his head firmly on his shoulders when talking about the business potential of classical music. “Big business is reserved for non classical music. I’m interested in culture and passion and have always loved the classics”.
David Stansfield