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Schubert's 22 piano sonatas sketch a very illuminating picture of the prematurely departed composer's compositional path. From te first essays of the gifted young 16- to 19-year-old; one can trace a continuous development leading to the five great sonatas which he wrote in the years 1823 and 1826; and finally to the three masterworks written shortly before his death; which place him on a level with Beethoven as a composer of sonatas.Volume I of the three-volume Henle Urtext edition of Franz Schubert's piano sonatas contains seven sonatas from the two earlier periods as well; which all became known with opus numbers. Only two were published during Schuber's lifetime. The book opens with what is no doubt the best-known sonata of these two periods; the A Major Sonata D 664 op. post. 120. Given the length of time between the composition of each – 1817; 1823; 1825 – the works present a great diversity of forms and expression.