an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me | Advertise | Follow me:

Update: Russian Government ‘may buy Rachmaninov estate’

he pianist Andrei Gavrilov reports that Vladimir Putin has signed the cheque that will acquire Sergei Rachmaninov’s estate beside Lake Lucerne for the Russian people. The house, named Senar, beside Lake Lucerne, contains the composer’s favourite piano and many manuscripts and papers. Several pianists, led by Denis Matsuev, have campaigned for it to belong to Russia after the death of its long-time custodian, Alexandre Rachmaninov. The price was said to be around 18 million Swiss francs.

 

alexander-rachmaninov

Here’s Andrei’s excited announcement. See below for cautious update from Denis.

MY DEAREST GUYS! … THE GREAT REAL ESTATE “SENAR” (SE-rgey-NA-tasha-R-achmaninov) IN LUCERNE WILL BE BOUGHT BY RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT. A YEARS OF MY SHUTTLE DIPLOMACY, ESPECIALLY AFTER THE DEATH OF GRANDSON OF RACHMANINOV LAST YEAR, WITH A HUGE HELP OF RUSSIAN DIPLOMATS (I BOW TO ALL OF THEM, WELL DONE GUYS!!!) IN SWITZERLAND BROUGHT OUR MUTUAL ENTHUSIASTIC WORK ON THE TABLE OF PUTIN. BEING A MANIC OF AMBITIOUS PROJECTS (IN THIS CASE WE USED IT FOR GOOD) HE SIGNED AND GAVE THE MONEY FOR THE ONLY LIVE-LIVING HOUSE OF WORLD MOST BELOVED DARLING GENIUS. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A NIGHTMARE IF THE ONLY REAL, JOLLY, LIVLY RACHMANINOV’S PLACE WOULD HAD GONE PEACE BY PEACE FROM DIFFERENT AUCTIONS! I CONGRATULATE YOU ALL FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART! IT IS SO GREAT THAT WE CAN’T REALLY UNDERSTAND YET WHAT AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN REVIVING AND DEVELOPING MUSIC THIS FORTUNATE HAPPENING CAN PLAY IN HISTORY OF MUSIC. I AM READY TO OFFER ALL MY SKILLS TO BRING NEW LIFE TO THAT WONDER (IF WOULD BE GIVEN ANY POSITION THERE). IMAGINE – WE CAN HAVE INTERNATIONAL SEMINARS, INTERNATIONAL MASTERCLASSES WITH ONLY THE BEST OF THE BEST TEACHERS, NICE CROWDS OF TOURISTS (5 MILLION IN LUCERNE EVERY YEAR), RECORDINGS ON ORIGINAL GREAT RACH’S PIANO, “RUSSIAN TEA SESSIONS”, NICE BOAT TRIPS FROM LUCERNE AND BACK AT ANY TIME OF THE YEAR, FESTIVAL NON-STOP AND SO MANY FANTASTIC THINGS, HARD TO IMAGINE. THE HOUSE IS IN A SUCH STATE AS RACH WAS THERE 5 MINUTES AGO AND JUST POPED OUT FOR A DRINK  HIS DRESS ARE THERE, ALL HIS THINGS,PERSONAL BELONGINGS, NOT SPEAKING ABOUT HUGE ARCHIVE INCLUDING RHAPSODY AND MANY OTHER MASTER PEACES. IF WE WILL SUCCEED TO BUILD A NICE CONCERT HALL THERE (THERE ARE 10.000 SQUARE METERS OF LAND ) – THE BEST EVER WORLD COMPETITION GUARANTEED! TO CUT IT SHORT – IT IS SO BIG, SO GREAT THAT VERY FEW UNDERSTAND IT NOW AND WILL NEED QUITE SOME TIME TO REALIZE HOW BIG IT IS WHAT HAS HAPPENED! SOMETIMES GOOD WONDERS ARE HAPPENING EVEN IN OUR SAD TIMES. HUG YOU ALL AND CONGRATULATIONS WITH A TRUE MIRACLE!
AG

UPDATE from Denis Matsuev:

  • Mr.Gavrilov talked about his personal opinion and attitude to the situation with SENAR (S.V. Rachmaninoff’s residence in Switzerland). As the artistic director, the person who protects interests of The Rachmaninoff Foundation and the head of Public Council at the Ministry of Culture of Russian Federation I am the one who’s initiated and coordinates all the process. I believe it is crucially important to clear up the situation for the correct vision to be formed. It is widely known, that I brought up the question about SENAR’s future at the meeting of Council of Culture with the participation of President Putin on 2nd of October in Kremlin. The President listened to me very attentively and said that he got all needed information. Soon he gave the commission to the Ministry of Culture to monitor the situation and find a solution. At the moment Minster of Culture V. Medinsky and I are working over all legitimate variants of solving the problem and trying to find the best one that will satisfy everybody. It is a common knowledge that the decision of state level is not made in haste. It has to go through all needed legal procedures and be approved by experts as well. Especially when we talk about crucially important for Russian Culture heritage. We talk about a long prestarting procedures, thoroughly elaborated plan and a working-out of the final decision, that will be legitimate and best for all. I believe firmly, that this is the only position we must adhere to and we will proceed this way in future.((Here is the original Russian TV report.)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments

  1. Michael Schaffer says:

    The name is actually spelled “Rachmaninoff”. More information in the comments section here: http://www.artsjournal.com/slippeddisc/2013/10/just-in-putin-wants-to-buy-rachmaninov-estate.html

  2. The Swiss authorities will probably have a word or two in the matter as well. Read about the so-called “Lex Koller” here:

    http://www.luijten.ch/Step-2.html

    It’s hardly a “done deal”.

  3. Michael Schaffer says:

    I don’t know anything about Swiss law, but Switzerland is not exactly a country that has a reputation for making it very hard for foreigners with a lot of money to bring in, invest, park or hide their money, or buy property and live there while paying very low taxes. So if the Russians come rolling in with suitcases full of money to buy R̶a̶c̶h̶m̶a̶n̶i̶n̶o̶v̶’̶s̶ , I mean, Rachmaninoff’s house, do you you really think they will give them a very hard time?

    • Yes, money usually “speaks”. :)

      However, buying property in Switzerland is subject to these regulations, and it is not a trivial matter to get permission. I think much depends on the location; that is, which canton is involved. The outcome can vary greatly because the purpose of these laws was to prohibit foreigners from grabbing up the most touristically attractive properties, and those are concentrated in certain areas.

      • Michael Schaffer says:

        By “the outcome can vary greatly” I assume you mean, the *price* the interested foreigners have to pay and the fees of their Swiss lawyers, as well as perhaps the little “considerations” for the officials who stamp the paperwork, vary greatly, correct? Do you think there are any cases in which rich foreigners with boatloads of money in the end couldn’t buy property they desired because of these laws?

        • Alexander Uvarov says:

          Purchasing property in Switzerland is somewhat akin to buying a co-op apartment in New York City. Aside from the restrictions upon foreigners (which primarily exist due to the fact that in owning property there, one is also along the path to potentially acquiring Swiss citizenship along with it’s attendant tax benefits) there are also local canton and neighbourhood restrictions to contend with. Consider that the Russian government is theoretically acquiring this residential property as a museum, which thusly makes it commercial in an area perhaps not zoned for that, along with the attendant parking and traffic issues, the latter of which have been long running issues at other suburban estate museums such as the original Getty Museum in Mailbu California, where one now needs to park a few miles away and take a shuttle bus to the estate, a process finally agreed upon after decades of neighbour complaints. And the Swiss laws are WAY stricter in matters such as this, with a citizens right to peace and quiet being paramount in any such issue.
          Having renovated a property near Lucerne a few years ago, even after months of applications with neighbour input to what was ostensibly a rather minor and primarily indoor reno, we then had to contend with absurdly strict rules as to when and how we could actually do the work so our construction noise would not disturb anyone.

          And to Mr Schaffer: FYI: the composers surname IS Russian and actually IS quite correctly spelled and transliterated “Rachmaninov”, however the interchange to the “off” ending, is as common as his first name being written “Serge”, or “Sergei”, or even “Sergey”
          My own surname is in its original and exact transliteration from cyrilic as Uvarov, however my Parisien cousins have written their Ouvaroff, and the British branch spells is Uvaroff, all of which are just as acceptable as Romanoff and Romanov.

          • Yes, I hadn’t even considered zoning restrictions which are especially important given that the villa is located in what is essentially a rural village (Hertenstein, a neighboring village to Weggis) — not sure of the number of inhabitants, but it can’t be more than several hundred.

            Today, I believe there is some kind of secondary school or other public facility located just across the street from the property. Otherwise, mostly farm lands on one side as far as I could tell. It’s definitely not easy to buy any kind of property in Switzerland as a foreigner.

            Does anyone know what Alexander Conus Rachmaninoff’s (i.e. the former resident of Senar) nationality was? I assume that he had a Russian passport, but was probably a Swiss citizen as well — after all, if Gerard Depardieu could become Russian so easily… :)

            The villa and its associated buildings are also architecturally very interesting — they were quite modern for their time. All we need now is for the Swiss “Heimatschutz” to chime in to the chorus, then it’s anyone’s guess as to how the outcome will be!

          • Michael Schaffer says:

            Except that Rachmaninoff himself decided to spell his name that way, and he did so consistently for several decades, playing concerts, conducting, recording, publishing always under that specific form of his name. It is how he signed his name and what it says on his tombstone.
            If he had decided to spell his name Rackababyringelingbangboomdidinginoff, that would be the one and only correct form to use it in western script.
            If you don’t care about a specific form of your name to be used in western script, that’s up to you. But it’s not your place to decide how Rachmaninoff wanted his name spelled.

          • I think Michael Schaffer has a point, although I have no personal opinion in the matter. Take the name “Leon Fleisher”, for example. His parents were Russian immigrants to the USA (or of Russian descent) who probably originally spelled their name “Флайшер”. This would be the ordinary transliteration of the German “Fleischer,” meaning “butcher” in English. They were Jewish, and Jews often had (and have) family names of Germanic or Yiddish origin.

            Does Leon care whether we spell his name with “sch” or “sh”? Of course he does … after all, it’s his name, and he will correct anyone who spells it with a “c” if he has a chance. But the single Russian letter “ш” is pronounched like “sh” in English (or “sch” in German), so it is used for that consonant. It is actually derived from the Hebrew letter “shin”, or “ש”, which is phonetically equivalent. In Russian, there are actually two different “sh” sounds (“sh” and “shch”), but that is beside the point.

            So … how should we spell Mr. Fleisher’s name? I would say we should spell it the way he wants it spelled: without the “c”. Likewise, one should spell “Рахманинов” (or “Рахманиновъ” in pre-1918 Russian spelling) as he always spelled it himself when in the Western world: “Rachmaninoff”.

          • Herbert Pauls says:

            the “v” ending makes phonetic sense in some languages like German, where native speakers automatically change it into a voiceless consonant anyway. But the “v” leads English speakers astray because they then want to say it as a voiced consonant, which is a phonetic effect one would never hear in German or Russian. Unlike German or Russian, we often put voiced consonants at the end of words. Our muscles are used to it. A key sign of a German or Russian accent in English speaking is that the speaker tends to be uncomfortable making voiced consonants at the end of words. In sum, it is not really appropriate to apply, say, what is in effect a German transliteration rule here because the English speaker will then have the wrong phonetic reaction.

            Rachmaninoff was wise to use the final “ff”.

          • Michael Schaffer says:

            “But the single Russian letter “ш” is pronounched like “sh” in English (or “sch” in German), so it is used for that consonant. It is actually derived from the Hebrew letter “shin”, or “ש”, which is phonetically equivalent.”

            That’s a very interesting observation. It had never occurred to me before, but it makes sense since the Greek alphabet the Cyrillic alphabet is mostly derived from doesn’t have a “sh” sound.

            Of course, Yiddish itself is written in the Hebrew alphabet, so this name probably went through several stages of transliteration, from the Latin alphabet to the Hebrew, then the Cyrillic, finally back into the Latin alphabet.

            It is also interesting to note that the Cyrillic form of the originally German name Eisenstein – Эйзенштейн, as in the famous director – preserves the sh sound before the t which is equivalent to the German original where however that sh is not reflected in the orthography. It is spelled st but pronounced sht.

          • This may not be crucial for this discussion, but AU is very wrong about the Getty Villa. First, it is located about 2 km east of Malibu, in Pacific Palisades. Second, it has a large multilevel parking structure which is no more than 5 minutes of leisurely walking distance from the museum building itself. There are no shuttles there because they are absolutely unnecessary.

  4. Reading the statements of these two Tchaikovsky Competition winners is quite funny actually. The older one says, “it was MY diplomacy that did it and I am the one who is ready to manage it”. But the younger one disagrees, “no, it was all me-me-me, I initiated, I coordinated and His Presidential Highness listened to ME!”. Very amusing pair of self-centered careerists.

an ArtsJournal blog