Russian government looks into buying Rachmaninoff estate in Switzerland

Posted on: November 27, 2013

“President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has ordered his government to look into buying the archive and Swiss estate of the emigre composer and pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff, continuing an effort to reclaim and repatriate Russian cultural legacy,” writes Sophia Kishkovsky in Monday’s (11/25) New York Times. “Mr. Putin issued the order on Nov. 17, following up on a public discussion of the situation with the pianist Denis Matsuev … at the Kremlin in early October. He gave officials a Dec. 20 deadline to study the question. Mr. Matsuev said he feared that Rachmaninoff’s descendants might auction the estate, known as Villa Senar, near Lake Lucerne…. Buying it would cost about 18 million Swiss francs (about $20 million)…. Rachmaninoff, who fled Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution, died in Beverly Hills, Calif., in 1943…. Simon Morrison, a musicologist at Princeton University, said the potential acquisition by Russia could … open new doors for researchers. ‘Rachmaninoff research is moribund, and there has yet to be written a substantial account of his career,’ he wrote in an email. ‘I imagine that this acquisition will serve to promote Rachmaninoff as a Russian classic, rather than a superstar international virtuoso, but it should also free up materials to researchers.’ ”

Posted November 27, 2013