Richard Bratby

Fast cars, minimalist design and en suite bathrooms: the real Rachmaninoff

Visit the composer's starkly modern Swiss home and you'll see a very different side to the last of the romantics

Sergei Rachmaninoff at the Steinway piano that you can still see – and if you ask politely, play – in the Villa Senar, built to his specifications between 1931-34. Credit: Archiv Lucerne Festival, Luzern

The train from Zurich to Lucerne tips you out right by the lakeside, practically on the steamboat piers. A white paddle-steamer takes you out of the city, past leafy slopes and expensive-looking mansions. Tribschen, where Wagner wrote the ‘Siegfried Idyll’, slides away to the right as you head out across the main arm of the lake.

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