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.
It is never easy to draw balances. Usually that is a raining day, but is not our case. Twenty-five years is good time span, dear Giulio Cesare, and you gave me the difficult task to describe them in a few lines. "Give me a portrait" - you said- "tell freely, ... you know everything, with you there are no secrets. " It has not always been easy following you in all your artistic and non-musical and non-culinary and non-meetings, Hi-Fi exhibitions, recordings, upsets and joys, loves, in short, life. You knew a flood of people and you introduced many to me: each with its own character, its ghosts, each with its own destiny. Many of those met are still with you: Accardo, Ughi, Rosen, Fornaciari, Zubin Metha, Raina Kabaivanska, ..., but the list is very long, others there are no more, because they left us earlier during the trip, as Davide Mosconi or Nikita Magaloff, although in the latter case, his piano art is still alive among us, thanks to your art as sounds "cager". I confess that despite all the awards, many, the doctoral thesis regarding you and Foné, the honoris causa degrees and all other trophies and various brass farthings you've received, I can not see you as a regular engineer, dear Engineer Ricci. You have not the style of the technician, with the rule in the pocket, pressing on the heart ready to measure. Rather, when I speak to you, I have in mind a Renaissance man, one of those geniuses that you could find in Florence in some workshop at the end of the fifteenth century, ready to solve problems of architecture, hydrostatic, or simply melting a color and drawing up a background on a canvas, but essentially adopting a humanistic approach. I always see you fussing with the microphones, your old Neumanns, who helped give voice to Foné, while you stumble over a cello and a timpano in Santa Cecilia, or I remember you with the headphones on your head, wrapped with cables in the second stage box, setting the Nagra IV D levels, while in the Teatro Grande di Bergamo the notes of Chopin and Schumann are echoing, or (!), at the Comunale di Firenze, before the dress rehearsal of the Lucia, while you force me to intone in the empty theatre before the entering of Maestro Metha's Orchestra, Questa o quella per me pari sono - "Possibly Verdi style, ...just to adjust the position of the mike stands! And hold the notes! "-- The Giulio Cesare I would like to describe is also the private one, more intimate that does not propose to the President of the Senate to transform the hall of national decisions in a music hall. Crazy! But the most incredible thing is that Mancino (the President of the Italian Senate) listened to you: three CDs for three years. He was bewitched. Our senators have been dislodged to make room for music. Giulio was able to move for a couple of days the various Senators Andreotti and Cossiga. Even high-ranking politics withdrew in the face art. Only you could do it! Yours is a sound art and Foné has little to do with the aseptic technique, the soaking recording studios and the digital devilries used by the majors to record. Ultimately the best instrument you have is your ear, an "absolute" ear, as explained by Salvatore Accardo. But do not brag, you have no credit for this. It ‘just a natural talent, like knowing how to draw. It ‘a matter of luck.
By the way, you often addressed to one of your profane saints, which is always good to have propitious, a sort of protector, as you call him: I refer to St. arse, which has often been generous with you. In 1983 you started a little bit for joke, a little bit for stubbornness, much for madness, you really needed that saint. Now you are famous: Verdi's alter ego on television, at Striscia la Notizia (for charity, there is no kinship with the well known director Antonio Ricci, nor with the other editor Ricci: Franco Maria), sought by celebrated musicians for the quality of your sound, interviewed in national and international newspapers and magazines, Philips Super Audio CDs testimonial, but above all a symbol of vinyl at its highest level. Yes, because, as such an obstinate you are, you have never left vinyl, even when it seemed dead, after the majors declared it an extinct specie, a previous century object, the twentieth just finished. You, nothing, right on the path of the highest analog quality. You were right. What else tell you? Everyone is there to recognize this and among them the last-artist friend who noticed the Fonè quality is Renzo Arbore, who wanted you to make a "great beautiful old style LP." Can you imagine Arbore and you, two crazy for music, and Renzo told me that at home he has the Thorens and of course a vintage Wurtlizer Juke box with the Satchmo vinyls, "the originals", Ella's and Glen Miller's. That of vinyl has been a great challenge, totally against the trend. You always liked to stay out of the fray, a little aristocratically, from above, and conduct your own game. On this you look like another old friend of Foné and mutual friend: Fulvio Pierangelini, just him, the No. 1 and beyond Master Chef of Italy, patron of the Gambero Rosso, another out of time Renaissance man, stubborn like you, against the tide like you, manic quality as furious perfectionist and crazy! You get along very well together, I know, I have introduced you. But Giulio you exaggerated, as always. you have been the only one who dared to invite him to dinner at home, and he came! You, then, gave him a stereo set and your music, he gave you his own olive oil and some secret spices. Tasting sounds is like enjoying life, one thing is in the other. Beyond certain limits it becomes a sublime art. You capture the colors of a Stradivari, Fulvio enhances harmony of a crustaceans sufflé. You do the same thing, more than engineering, measurements, doses and tools! At this point I cannot finish without mentioning tennis, from which our friendship began. Yes, I see you there in shorts, short-sleeved shirt and with the socks rolled to the ankles, with a wooden Maxima tournament because that was not the technological era of today's oversize rackets made by diabolical fibres. Of course in 1977 you were not yet monsieur Foné, you were only a boy, but you played very well well on clay, enough to become an Italian Tennis Federation instructor in Rome, at the Tre Fontane Club, the same where there was also Panatta.
You returned a lot of balls to this side, like a wall, you were an obsession; stubborn even in sport, you did not give up a ball, you had never given up ....do not ever give up!. And then, while I write these silly notes, I wonder where you are. ... Maybe making a phonecall ...
Marco Fontanelli (translated by Jacopo Diaco)