Youri Egorov (piano)
The Complete Discography
Edited by Wim de Haan
The story of Youri Egorov is a tragic one. In 1976 he defected to the West, feeling constrained by the Soviet system, following a success at the Queen Elizabeth International Competition in Brussels. He eventually set up home in Amsterdam. In 1977 he took part in the Van Cliburn Competition in Texas, but didn’t reach the finals. He obviously won the hearts of the audience as they collected $10,000 to give him – the cash prize awarded the winner, Steven de Groote. This helped finance his New York debut, which took place in January 1978 at Alice Tully Hall. He impressed the critics, especially Harold C. Schonberg, who observed that the pianist ‘has all the ingredients for success’. Just when all the omens looked positive, Egorov died at the age of only 33 from complications of AIDS in 1988.
The Youri Egorov website is based in the Netherlands and is the brainchild of Wim de Haan. Several publications have been produced, including “Youri Egorov - His Complete Original Diary Italy 1976”, which I had the good fortune to review in 2020. Mr de Haan has recently assembled a complete discography of the pianist, which will be of enormous value and warmly welcomed by devotees of Egorov’s artistry.
The book opens with a complete discography of published authorized recordings, these are listed by composer, with the vast majority being digital compact discs. Interspersed are some analog vinyl discs (LP), music cassettes [MC] and digital video discs (DVD). The subsequent chapters are devoted to each individual medium: LPs, CDs, cassettes, DVDs and radio broadcasts. The latter are in chronological order by concert date. These chapters are expanded with a page devoted to each recording. Details include recording dates and location and, where known, recording producer or engineer. What makes this discography very special are the splendid high quality photographs and colour reproductions of the LP and CD covers which accompany each entry.
The final twenty pages are devoted to an article taken from Issue 16:4 (March/April 1993) of Fanfare Magazine. It’s titled “Youri Egorov: A Life. The Foundation. New Releases. A Discography” by James H. North. It consists of a biographical portrait of the pianist, followed by a discussion about the Youri Egorov Foundation, formed after his death by a group of his friends with the aim of keeping “alive his memory, and to further the causes to which he was devoted”. In the remainder of the article, in addition to listing Egorov’s recordings available at the time on CD, North adds an insightful commentary on them.
This valuable and easy to navigate publication constitutes an authoritative resource and wins top marks for presentation. Carefully collated, it’s been a labour of love for Wim de Haan, whose meticulous and exhaustive research leaves no stone unturned. He must be lauded for his enthusiasm and dedication in keeping the torch burning for this remarkable pianist.