Financial Aspects in the Correspondence between Respighi and his Publishers


  • Norberto Cordisco Respighi Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris


Ottorino Respighi, Music composition and publishing, Financial aspects, Composer royalties, 20th-century music industry


The objective of this article is to analyze the financial aspects found in the correspondence between Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) and his publishers, primarily contained in the Fondo Ottorino Respighi of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice. Respighi worked with various publishers throughout his life, including Bongiovanni, Sonzogno, Pizzi, Ricordi, Universal, and others. Early contracts with Bongiovanni in 1905 provided no financial return, and due to unfortunate circumstances, Respighi earned no royalties for over a decade. However, his partnership with Casa Ricordi in the late 1920s became significant, with typical contracts including a lump sum, 40% of rental proceeds, and 10% royalties on sales. Casa Ricordi, especially after Puccini's death, likely sought to diversify its catalog, and Respighi became an important composer for them, particularly after the success of «Pines of Rome». The Great Depression in the 1930s impacted Italy's economy and the music-publishing industry. As a result, Casa Ricordi reduced the lump sums offered to Respighi from 1932 onwards. Despite these challenges, Respighi's royalties from 1919-1936 were substantial, averaging nearly 100,000 euros annually in the 1930s before taxes.