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ALS Assigning His Italian Publishing Rights to Ricordi

$3600 net
Item: 22914
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MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY, FELIX. (1809-1847). German composer and one of the most gifted musicians of the 19th century. ALS. (“Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy”). 1 2/3pp. 4to. Frankfurt, September 1, 1844. To Italian music publisher GIOVANNI RICORDI (1785-1853). In French with translation.

I have just received your honored [letter] of July 27th, by the intermediary Mr. Benedict, and I hasten to express to you all the thanks that I owe you. It would be useless to tell you that I have known for a very long time the great and deserved reputation that you enjoy, the beautiful editions that you have made of so many masterpieces, the great importance of your house for the state of music in Italy – for such is the artist who would be unaware of all that and who would not have to boast of your goodness, if he had known the honor of traveling through your country and of making your acquaintance!

Mendelssohn portrait

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy

It is, therefore, most sincerely that I thank you for your letter and for the proposition you make me in selling you directly the ownership of my works for Italy. I accept this offer with great pleasure and I beg you to let me know whether an arrangement such as the one I have with my publisher in France would be suitable for you: that is, to set an amount which stays the same for each work, large or small, the same as I publish them in Germany. If that is acceptable, I would beg you to set this amount yourself, I would find it difficult to do so, not knowing Italy, and I am convinced that you would be much more equal to the task of making the conditions that would be suitable to us both than I would be; all that you will tell me, therefore, about that in your reply I have no doubt that I will consent to with pleasure. My address will be: Frankfurt am Main, for the rest of this month; Berlin from the beginning of October. Allow me to repeat once again the expression of my most sincere gratitude, and accept the most perfect consideration which I have the honor to be, Sir, your devoted…”

A prolific and gifted composer, Mendelssohn wrote our letter shortly after founding the Leipzig Conservatory (now the Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy”) in 1843. Among his best-known compositions are the incidental music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Italian Symphony, Scottish Symphony and Songs Without Words. The year of our letter, Mendelssohn composed his Organ Sonatas, Op. 65, considered an essential part of the organ repertory, and his Violin Concerto in E minor.

Mendelssohn’s Leipzig publisher, Friedrich Kistner, began his company in 1831 and counted Mendelssohn, Chopin, Hiller, and Moscheles among his artists. Our letter was written just prior to the publication of his Six Duets, Op. 63 – a collection of duets for soprano and alto – published by Kistner in 1844/1845 and John J. Ewer & Co. in London.

After learning engraving and printing at the firm of Breitkopf & Härtel, Ricordi, a violinist, founded G. Ricordi & C. in Milan in 1808. Securing a contract to publish all music performed at La Scala and accruing these rights became the basis for the company’s vast catalogue and enormous success. By the 1840s Ricordi was one of the most prominent music publishers in Europe and enjoyed close relationships with Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini, and Verdi. Among the many changes he introduced was paying composer royalties for performances of their works. The firm continued under his descendants until 1919 and remains active to this day.

Published in Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Sämtliche Briefe, vol. 10 (4559).

Folded and creased with some uneven age toning and slight chipping. With the integral address leaf intact and in very good condition.

ALS Assigning His Italian Publishing Rights to Ricordi

$3600 net • item #22914

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