“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.” – Michael Kennedy
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music, 3rd edn. (London: Oxford University Press, 1980) p. 516.
“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.” – Eric Blom
Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 5th edn. (London: Macmillan, 1954) vol. 7, p. 27.
“Especially dangerous on the musical front in the present class war.” – An official Soviet verdict on Rachmaninoff’s music
Delivered in 1931; cited from Percy A. Scholes The Oxford Companion to Music, 5th edn. (London: Oxford University Press, 1944) p. 775.
“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.” – Neville Cardus
The Delights of Music (London: Victor Gollancz, 1966) p. 90.