“I have repeatedly been abroad, met with the people of many countries, conversed with the greatest composers, musical critics, performers, participated in discussions about the problems of modern musical art. In a live exchange of experiences mutual interests were revealed, a sincere desire to look deeply into the roots of modern creativity, to find out the inner reasons generating these or those art phenomena in our country and worldwide…”


“My generation of musicians had the luck to watch the brightest blossom of the genius Sergey Prokofiev, to be present at the birth of his best works, to converse with Prokofiev-man…
A composer, pianist and conductor; Prokofiev was not a teacher. He did not like to lecture, teach, show how to compose music”. And still, one won't find any modern composer who would not, to some extent, take advantage of the lessons of Prokofiev's creativity, who would not learn anything new, important, studying the works of this remarkable composer. It is easy to imagine our excitement when, in 1935, Prokofiev announced to us about the upcoming visit to the conservatory of Prokofiev who wanted to get acquainted with the works of student-composers.
At the appointed hour Prokofiev’s tall figure showed up in the office of the director of Moscow Conservatory. He dashed in, going on in a lively conversation with Myaskovsky, hardly noticing our looks of burning curiosity and restrained excitement… Our compositions will be listened to by the worldwide known musician whose name seemed legendary!…
I can hardly recall what Prokofiev was saying after the audition. I only remember that all his remarks were benevolent, very sure and precise. He approved of my Trio and even asked for the notes to send them to France. There is no need to speak of how inspiring that meeting was. Soon I had a chance to show the composer the outline of my piano concerto. He was astonished by my intention to write a concerto and did not consider it necessary to conceal his doubts.
– To write a concerto is not very easy, – he said, – you must necessarily create an invention. I advise you to write down all texture finds without expecting the maturity of the entire designs. Write down separate passages, interesting parts, not necessarily in succession. Then you will form the whole from these «bricks».
The first outline of the second part produced this rather sharp remark: “So what will then the pianist be doing, loafing?” (he meant the oversimple and easy solo part).
S.S. Prokofiev was an excellent teller. He possessed a keen sense of humour and irony (that was in full measure expressed in his creativity).
I am recalling the story about the first meeting with Henry Wood. In the spring of 1944 a solemn session in the All-Soviet Union Society of Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries took place; it was dedicated to the 70th anniversary since the birthday of the known English conductor Henry Wood. In the session there were present a lot of musicians listening to the report about the life and activity of the eminent conductor. Then S. Prokofiev took the floor; with inimitable humour he told us about several, very vivid episodes, characterizing H.Wood. One of them I have especially kept in my memory. Prokofiev for the first time was going on a concerto tour in London, and he did not know who he was to meet and where he had to go from the railway station. That circumstance bothered him very much during the journey to London. At last, the train rolled up to the platform, Prokofiev went out of the car and stopped by an information bureau in the confusion. “Suddenly, - tells Prokofiev, - I see some respectable mister walking quickly along the platform; he had the score of my First Piano Concerto adjusted on his chest. It was H.Wood…”


“Italians’ ideas of the musical life in the Soviet Union sometimes convey quite fantastic character. For instance, in one of the press conferences one prominent musical critic asked me a question: ‘Whether Bach’s and Beethoven’s music is played in the Soviet Russia?”
“Some newspapers, notifying my arrival, considered it necessary to express surprise that there came the very composer Khachaturian who after the Decree of the Central Committee of Bolshevik Party, ‘as it was said, had been deported to Siberia.’”


“Of course, one of the strong and maybe the strongest impressions on me was made by the meeting with Jan Sibelius. In December 8, 1955, the composer will be 90 years old.
He has not left his villa Jarvenpeie, 40 km from Helsinki, since 1904. I was stepping with excitement over the threshhold of the modest two-storeyed house located in the picturesque thick pine forest on the hill not far from the lake. On my way I was thinking about the forthcoming meeting with the alive classic and composer, whose creative activity had begun as long ago as the 80s of the previous century. What is he like? How will he receive me? About what shall I talk with him? To be honest I was deeply touched by that simplicity and cordiality with which he met me and my companions. He came to us cheerful, straightforward, somewhat severe on the exterior, but only on the exterior…
There was a big radio in the room. Sibelius seemed to spend many hours by the radio listening to musical programmes from all the countries of the world. During the talk he very warmly recalled the meetings with D.Kabalevsky, D.Oistrakh and E.Gilels who had visited him several years ago. He also recalled Petersburg to which he had been more than once in the beginning of the century. He recalled Chaikovsky, Glazunov and Rimsky-Korsakov who he knew personally. We began talking about the modern west music and the tasks of modern composers.
– One writes music by head or by feet, the other – by his heart, - Sibelius said expressively.”


“Myaskovsky never suppressed his students by his creative will. He treated them as equals and was extremely polite and attentive. He did not afford any familiarity and was always on formal terms with all the students …”
“Several times I went to the classes having not done my homework. At last, Myaskovsky strictly asked what was wrong with me. I said I had troubles and worries. The composer smiled:
– So, take chance of it. Write music. Don’t just be silent. It’s worst of all. You should always and everywhere think about music…”
Later on, after Myaskovsky’s death, I read in his dairies that only those who create tirelessly can be considered true artits – “otherwise, the brain rusts.”