When I first heard of Youri Egorov, it was in reference to my favourite pianist, Dinu Lipatti. I was reading a French dictionary of performers, and in the description under Egorov’s name it stated that he had often been compared to Lipatti – a comparison that deepened when he died at the same tragically young age of 33. I was intrigued.
It would be some time before I actually explored his recordings in detail, but once I did I was flabbergasted. Here was a pianist who, like Lipatti, had considered all the nuances in his expression. Every phrase and cadence blended flawlessly into the next; each sound faded seamlessly in the way that a painter blends colours to create an image that not only shows detail but also evokes a bigger picture. Egorov’s death of AIDS in 1988 was clearly a tragic loss to the piano world.
Because he lived well into the era of tape broadcasts, we fortunately have several concert performances of this incredible artist, though these are not as widely available as one might hope. The following is one that has only been issued on a box set devoted to pianists of Holland. In these works of Brahms, none of whose music he recorded in his contract with EMI Records, Egorov’s mastery of tone production, pedaling, phrasing, and blending is as peerless as his more known recordings. Bravo!