My dear hands. Farewell, my poor hands.
Quoted in Sergei Bertensson and Jay Leyda Sergei Rachmaninoff: A Lifetime in Music (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002) p. 381.Said on February 27, 1943, during his last illness, after having said that he would never be able to play again.
The virtuosos look to the students of the world to do their share in the education of the great musical public. Do not waste your time with music that is trite or ignoble. Life is too short to spend it wandering in the barren Saharas of musical trash.Sergei Rachmaninoff
A good conductor ought to be a good chauffeur; the qualities that make the one also make the other. They are concentration, an incessant control of attention, and presence of mind; the conductor only has to add a little sense of music.Sergei Rachmaninoff
I feel like a ghost wandering in a world grown alien. I cannot cast out the old way of writing and I cannot acquire the new. I have made an intense effort to feel the musical manner of today, but it will not come to me.Sergei Rachmaninoff
Technically he was highly gifted, but also severely limited. His music is well constructed and effective, but monotonous in texture, which consists in essence mainly of artificial and gushing tunes accompanied by a variety of figures derived from arpeggios. The enormous popular success some few of Rakhmaninoff's works had in his lifetime is not likely to last, and musicians never regarded it with much favour.Sergei Rachmaninoff
Opinion in all parts of the world would agree that Rachmaninoff is the most complete of living masters of the instrument; his technique is comprehensive, and he is, of course, musical to his bone's marrow. Most important of all, he is a composer, and for this reason he is able to approach a work as none of his pianist contemporaries can approach one – that is, from the inside, as an organic and felt creative process.Sergei Rachmaninoff
It is as a composer that his name will live longest. He was the last of the colourful Russian masters of the late 19th cent[ury], with their characteristic gift for long and broad melodies imbued with a resigned melancholy which is never long absent.Sergei Rachmaninoff
Especially dangerous on the musical front in the present class war.Sergei Rachmaninoff