Fone Records Italy
Fone Records from Italy is now the newest company to enter the Master Tape sales business
with nine new offerings on 1/4" two track tapes!
In the world of classical and jazz music recording, for almost thirty years fonè has been using advanced techniques, aimed at re-creating the atmosphere of the original performance.
Each new recording is the result of an enthusiastic encounter between the art of performance and the art of recording, and aims to reproduce the spirit with which works of the past were executed. One basic feature, which determines the difference between fonè and other record companies, is the recording of performances in their natural spaces, that is in the places where they were originally presented. This leads to a constant search for suitable locations, and the choice of churches, theatres, country mansions, drawing rooms and so on.
The recordings are carried out with the utmost simplicity, the only way not to do violence to the music: all the equipment is high fidelity; use is made of valve-type paired microphones manufactured in the years 1947 and 1949 (U47, U48 and M49) with an extremely natural and transparent timbre and a bi-microphonic field effect; these microphones have a very important history: they were used to record the Beatles at the Abbey Road Studio and by the RCA for the "Living Stereo" recordings.
No use is made of electronic manipulation or artificial correction of the signal, which while making sound easier to realise also render it unacceptably unnatural. With this method, the musical information can be transferred to the analogue standard (for Lp virgin vinyl 180gr. and 200gr.), to the digital standard DSD-SACD (for Super Audio CD) and to the new digital standard DSD-Signo- ricci (for the Signoricci CD).
fonè uses for the analogue standard Nagra 4S, Studer C37 and J37 and Ampex ATR 102 machines; for the digital standard, in collaboration with Philips the latest DSD (Direct Stream Digital) technology, that has opened the doors to SACD. For all successive stages of elaboration and control where replay is required, highly sophisticated systems of musical recording are used.
Who is 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
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 to
catch the sound: he became a microphone! It is the absolute dedication to the sound.
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
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".