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Boris Yeltsin sent 80th birthday congratulations Monday to pianist Svyatoslav Richter.

The Russian president called Richter's musical interpretations "a source of inspiration and love of beauty," and wished the maestro "many more years of creative work," the ITAR-TASS news agency reported.

Richter was traveling abroad, the agency said. But friends and admirers organized a music party in his honor.

Richter became the Soviet Union's leading pianist in the 1940s and toured the world's stages in the 1950s. He has toured rarely in recent years.

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