Edizioni Curci: 160 years of history and innovation, celebrating Italian music

by Salvatore Sclafani

Used and appreciated by generations of musicians, for over 160 years the publications by Edizioni Curci in Milan have been a milestone in Italian musical culture. A regular guest of Cremona Musica, that combines tradition and innovation. In this interview, Laura Moro, editorial director of the Classical and printed music division, reflects on the responsibilities of her role and reveals the novelties that the Milanese publisher will present at Cremona Musica.

 

 

Edizioni Curci boast a great tradition and are a reference point in the sector. How do you live the responsibility of making choices in line with current needs, projected, at the same time, towards the future?

We are in an important and delicate moment of transition. The book, a medium that has been a tool of knowledge for hundreds of years, today can be both physical and digital. It is an opportunity to work in a versatile way, but the big challenge for us is to continue to intercept the interest of the public and protect copyright.

 

What have you done in recent years to keep up with new technologies?

Edizioni Curci have a 160-year-long tradition. Our flagship products are educational publications. Despite an impressive catalog that has accompanied generations of music students, needs change over time. For example, in the last two years, we have developed our Edizioni Curci Digital app, which integrates audio and multimedia content with the printed product; the app has already been downloaded by thousands of people. We have started training and refresher courses for teachers and we have resumed with great enthusiasm the publication of works by contemporary composers because in the new music you can smell the scent of the future.

 

You are also very attentive to the Italian twentieth century...

Yes, we consider the rediscovery of Italian composers a moral commitment for an Italian publisher. There is still a lot to do, but we are proud to have put a giant like Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968), a Florentine composer of Jewish origin, who was forced to emigrate to the United States by brutal racial laws, at the center of the musical agenda. He also enjoyed the esteem of all the great interpreters of the last century, from Toscanini to Heifetz, Gieseking, Segovia, Ciccolini. With the Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco Collection, launched in 2015, in collaboration with Cidim, we have finally brought him back to Italy. The President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella even honored us with a medal of merit for this project. But we have also put together a new series on the Paduan composer Guido Alberto Fano (1875-1961), published two impressive volumes on the chamber lyrics of Riccardo Zandonai (1883-1944), which brings to light previously unpublished compositions, and, going back in time, have begun the Giovanni Battista Viotti Collection. Italy is a mine of still little-known composers and we are passionate about research work.

 

The success and diffusion of Edizioni Curci testify to and repay the sacrifices and commitment in your daily activity. What qualities do you consider important to your work?

It is essential to have a serious musical and humanistic preparation. Music is an intangible art, but composers are people of flesh and blood. A publisher must know how to choose the best and valorise them. Otherwise he becomes a printer who prints everything. It is important to build a team of professionals, each expert in their own sector, to understand the behavior of the market, but also to meet the sensitivities of the artists. And then, you have to have passion. The passion for one's job helps to prevent tiredness, and creates the perfect alignment between aspirations and everyday life. In my work I often meet extraordinary personalities and I learn something from each of them. A publisher is a large social network of composers, performers, even artists of different genres.

 

What are the conditions that allow a publishing idea to see the light? What uncertainties or difficulties, if any, need to be addressed?

The changing nature of the market is an important factor. It is always necessary to understand if a new publishing project can really be a novelty. It is essential to identify the useful proposals, which will last over time and are consistent with our catalog. We work a lot with the authors to propose didactically valid texts, with unique characteristics and capable of responding to the needs of digital natives. Our self-management series for musicians also represents an innovative proposal, which aims to offer young musicians tools to help them navigate their difficult artistic career.

 

Curci has been exhibiting in Cremona Musica for many years. What does this event represent for your publishing house?

Cremona Musica ensures a large and quality audience. It is an event we have been attending for more than ten years. For us it is a source of great satisfaction to see the great participation at our stand during the fair. The organizers have managed to keep it alive with foresight. Even in 2021, despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, it was a successful edition. For a musician, going to Cremona Musica is like going to Disneyland for a child.

 

What will you bring to Cremona Musica this year?

The agenda of the fair events includes two official meetings. First of all, the presentation of the recent volume Notes from the  pianist’s Bench by Boris Berman, under license from Yale University Press. It is a text in which Berman's great piano and interpretive technique is made accessible to musicians and enthusiasts, a real masterclass with one of the greatest living teachers, within a book's reach. In addition, there will be a preview of Big Notes by American conductor John Axelrod. The text explores how great lutherie has become, over time, the subject of financial speculation and proposes lucid and pragmatic analysis on how to make prudent investments. A book that also intends to be a "spotlight" on Cremonese violin making, containing interviews with expert luthiers and other exponents of the sector. But at our stand we will present many other novelties, such as Le donne di Pietro Mascagni, by Francesca Albertini Petroni, great-granddaughter of the composer; Buzzati in musica by Luciano Chailly, a book from 1987 but re-proposed by Curci on the occasion of the twentieth and fiftieth anniversary of the death, respectively, of Chailly and Dino Buzzati, testimony of a very fruitful artistic partnership and a cross-section of an era now bygone told by the author with great clarity.

 

Are there other aspects of your participation that are particularly important to you?

We will also have some novelties from our series, such as the reduction for voice and piano of the English version of the opera The Importance of Being Ernest, for the Castelnuovo-Tedesco Collection, the new methods for transverse flute and clarinet, the latest collections for guitar ensemble by Vito Nicola Paradiso and the new Berben releases, a catalog acquired in 2019. But above all there will be volumes dedicated to two great figures who, unfortunately, have left us this year: Angelo Gilardino, guitarist, composer, a great Italian appreciated and known all over the world to whom we have dedicated an anthology of pieces for solo guitar on the occasion of his eightieth birthday, which he celebrated last November; and Remo Vinciguerra, one of the most popular piano teachers among young students. Remo Vinciguerra still had a lot of music to publish, in particular his method for piano, on which we worked for almost twenty years of friendship and professional collaboration. In Cremona, we will present his Gran metodo per pianoforte in three volumes, not only in memory of him but also as the beginning of a series of new publications dedicated to his music.

Finally, it will be possible to know the calendar of lessons, online and in person, of the curcifascuola.it platform, dedicated to the training and updating of teachers. The public will be able to meet some of the teachers, who will illustrate their courses.

Many of our authors will come to visit us at the Curci stand during Cremona Musica and I invite everyone to subscribe to our newsletter to find out in which moments of the event they will be present.

We will also have some novelties from our series, such as the reduction for voice and piano of the English version of the opera The Importance of Being Ernest, for the Castelnuovo-Tedesco Collection, the new methods for transverse flute and clarinet, the latest collections for guitar ensemble by Vito Nicola Paradiso and the new Berben releases, a catalog acquired in 2019. But above all there will be volumes dedicated to two great figures who, unfortunately, have left us this year: Angelo Gilardino, guitarist, composer, a great Italian appreciated and known all over the world to whom we have dedicated an anthology of pieces for solo guitar on the occasion of his eightieth birthday, which he celebrated last November; and Remo Vinciguerra, one of the most popular piano teachers among young students. Remo Vinciguerra still had a lot of music to publish, in particular his method for piano, on which we worked for almost twenty years of friendship and professional collaboration. In Cremona, we will present his Gran metodo per pianoforte in three volumes, not only in memory of him but also as the beginning of a series of new publications dedicated to his music.

Finally, it will be possible to know the calendar of lessons, online and in person, of the curcifascuola.it platform, dedicated to the training and updating of teachers. The public will be able to meet some of the teachers, who will illustrate their courses.

Many of our authors will come to visit us at the Curci stand during Cremona Musica and I invite everyone to subscribe to our newsletter to find out in which moments of the event they will be present.