The lack of catchy nicknames should not leave you with any doubts as to the significance of these three mighty works from Schubert’s final years. Any one of them is enough to confirm the man’s status as a creative giant. To turn them out together as quickly as he did leaves you looking back in time trying to work out what secret could have been held by one so young that enabled him to leave so much.
Unpublished as they were for more than a decade after Schubert had passed away, the set is issued here some five years after Perl came to them with a reputation based solidly on his mastery of the complete set of Beethoven’s sonatas. These three, though, are far from being an extension to those 32. They are a different proposition altogether, in ways that the grandiose descriptions included with this double CD pack try to define, but do not quite succeed.
For his part, given his commitment to understand what the composer was seeking to achieve by immersing himself in these scripts, Perl offers no self-enhancing insights into what Schubert was really trying to tell us. Instead, whatever we might usefully want to discover about the greatness of this composer, aside from his songs, is all there to be drawn from the depths of these riveting performances.