The list of piano players I consistently enjoy listening to is very short. Although many today can claim technical ability, few are skilled to my satisfaction in applying technique. Take rubato, for instance. When used tastefully in small amounts, I believe it can add a lot to a performance. I find perfect, 'clinical' music as disagreeable as 'traffic jam' music with so much rubato that the actual rhythm of the music gets lost in the shuffle.
Yukio Yokoyama's use of techniques in this set is impeccable. He gives each individual etude its own voice, rather than playing everything the same, and applies personal touches =here and there= to bring out the best in them =when appropriate=. You won't find him suddenly zooming through a piece's finer moments or turning slow music into nursing home music. You can tell that he put a great deal of thought into these performances and it gives them a well-deserved air of sophistication and intelligence.
Take Op. 10, No. 1, for instance. Mr. Yokoyama isn't sitting at the piano with a stopwatch trying to see how fast he can race through it. Instead, he gradually pulls it back just enough to give it more tonal variety instead of being a monotonous mad dash. In the 'black keys' etude, another one of my favorites, he applies rubato in small amounts to give the notes some breathing room.
When I heard that Sony sat on these performances for years after they were recorded before finally releasing them, it boggled my mind. When I saw that he barely had any CDs on the market, it astounded me. I had the same reaction as I did after hearing the Yale Quartet's take on Beethoven's Late String Quartets - "Huh? You mean there isn't any more?"
This set has apparently been out of circulation for some time, so I doubt you'll be able to purchase this without paying a small fortune. Don't worry, though - there are still clips available on video sites like Youtube.