I am old enough to have seen Schnabel perform -- including once from a stage seat in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, close enough to note that the twinkle in the cheeky modulations in a Schubert sonata were exactly mirrored in the twinkle on his own countenance. Hearing him perform Beethoven -- on these new CDs, or on my treasured LPs in the EMI box that also contains Eric Blom‘s marvelous program from 1932 that accompanied the original 78s and which Naxos should seriously consider reprinting -- I hear a depth in the music’s textures that no other pianist in my experience has been able to match. For their content of wisdom mingled with moments of reckless energy, I will also hold on to my Brendels (all three sets); for clarity and elegant balance, I will retain Richard Goode‘s splendid Nonesuch versions. But the re-emergence of Schnabel casts a shadow over even those deserving ventures. I envy the generations of musicians and music lovers hearing his treasurable artistry for the first time.