Russia ups its bid for Rachmaninov’s Swiss villa

Russia ups its bid for Rachmaninov’s Swiss villa


norman lebrecht

May 30, 2014

The Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinski has told Izvestia that a bid of 17 million Swiss francs (US$19m) has gone in for the composer’s summer retreat on Lake Lucerne, known as Senar.

Medinski added that the purchase was being carried out by a group of anonymous wealthy men, following an instruction by President Putin to the Culture Ministry in October 2013. The building would be effectively state-owned and operated as a memorial to the late composer, who refused to return to Russia after the Bolshevik revolution. The estate was originally priced at 16 million francs. This may become a bidding war.

The villa, in Bauhaus style, was a haven for famous musicians during the ominous summer months of the 1930s. It was put up for sale after the death of Rachmaninov’s grandson Alexandre in November 2012.