I've always loved Richter's towering account on M&A (sadly out of print now), but this warmly expressive account by Kovacevich was a revelation to me. There are many extraordinary recordings of the work, but most of them sounds too laboured and self-concious, taking this music as a sort of huge mountain to climb, that is tiring to listen to.
Kovacevich's account, on the other hand, is very sincere and wonderfully fresh, letting the music speak most eloquently and also bringing Schubertian lyricism in slow variations. Technically he is solid like a rock, and in some variations he surpasses even Richter, not to mention Pollini and Sokolov. This is a pianism of true maturity and stature no serious collector could miss.
60s' stereo sound is surprisingly fine and realistic.