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Love of Wagner. For me Wagner has the talent of a Shakespeare. This love of Wagner comes from my father.
I am very fond of Rimsky [Rimsky-Korsakov]. He may be rather cold, straightforward and clear, but I always find him moving, pure. His coolness has a charm of its own.
The Scriabin sonatas I like most are Five, Six and Nine. 'There's a composer for you!' I have often heard people say in different countries.
Szymanowsky is now appreciated more and more. In some respects he is even higher than Strauss, a finer aristocratic breed! But Strauss is more powerful, perhaps.
How hard it is to play Rachmaninov! The more time I spend on the preludes, the harder they become. The complexity lies in the very fabric, the associations...
Debussy is nature itself. Infinitely diverse, sophisticated and simple at the same time. But how difficult this simplicity is to attain!
I first heard of the [Prokofiev's] Piano Sonata No. 9 from the composer himself, when he had only just drafted it. I played it at the Composers' Union, at an evening in honour of Prokofiev's sixtieth birthday in spring 1951. Now I like it more and more.
I have always admired his [Shostakovich's] powerful sense of the tragic. His Eighth Symphony in particular. It is one of the finest works of our age and together with the Fifth shows Shostakovich at his height.
Hindemith is not just a great master, but a major composer, still underrated.