The Postwar Years. The period from 1943 to 1956

In the years after the war, Casa Ricordi has to struggle to keep up, as the publisher has to upgrade its inventory to meet the market’s demands. In keeping with the company’s tradition, this is done partly by purchasing other inventories (Mario Pasquariello in Naples, Romero y Fernandez in Buenos Aires, where a branch had already been founded in 1924), and also by successively establishing new branches and sales and representation agencies or expanding existing ones: in Genoa (1953), Toronto (1954), Sydney (1956) Palermo (1957), and Mexico City (1958). A small part of the library is reacquired through donations. In 1950, the new store opens in the reconstructed building on Via Berchet. In 1952 the company is converted into a limited liability company, with Alfredo Colombo as president and Guido Valcarenghi and Eugenio Clausetti as managing directors. In 1956 it becomes a stock corporation, whose executive board includes the three men named above as well as other personalities.

Above all, the situation for music publishers has changed and hence the role and standing of Ricordi. The postwar period is characterized by a process that had been emerging since the introduction of the technology to reproduce music early in the 20th century: the separation of “light” and “serious” music. Put bluntly, light (“popular”) music has become a mass phenomenon, while serious music is marginalized.
Ricordi responds by entering into the popular music business, founding “Radio Record Ricordi” (“RRR”) in 1948 and a year later the monthly newsletter Rassegna Musicale Radio Record Ricordi. The management of Radio Record Ricordi is taken over by Mariano Rapetti, a pianist and songwriter (“paroliere”), who has already been an employee of the company for several years. His son Giulio, also a lyricist, will go on to form a legendary writing team under the pseudonym Mogol in the 1960s with the “cantautore” Lucio Battisti. The foundation of “Fono Film Ricordi”, and later “Edir” and “Ritmi e Canzoni” also lay the cornerstone for the later establishment of “Dischi Ricordi” by Carlo Emanuele Ricordi, also known as Nanni, in 1958.

The years 1943 to 1956 are not well documented in terms of the publisher’s history. In particular, there is a lack of publishing catalogs. A thorough review of the business correspondence (“copialettere”) and sifting through any publishing catalogs that can still be retrieved would be a worthwhile task and would fill an important gap.