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The Lydian String
Winners of the Naumburg Award for chamber music, the Lydian String
Quartet has demonstrated "a precision and involvement marking them as
among the world's best quartets" (Chicago Sun-Times). Residing at
Brandeis University, in Waltham, Massachusetts, the Lydians continue to
offer compelling, superbly integrated, and marvelously elegant
performances of the quartet literature since their formation in 1980.
This fall the quartet will be on sabbatical while it conducts a search
for a new violist (prospective applicants, see link in lefthand column),
but we look forward to reuniting again in the spring!
Our most recent review from our concert for the Carmel Music Society
Our new recording of the late Beethoven quartets: the reviews are in!
From Peninsula Reviews' David Beech, May 11, 2013:
The performers rose to the occasion with strong playing throughout their program of
Boccherini, Mozart, and Glazunov. Particularly notable was the centerpiece of the
evening, Mozart's D-minor Quartet, K.421, the one undisputed masterpiece on this enjoyable program.
It was clear that the players truly loved this work and really enjoyed performing it.
From the Boston Globe's Jeremy Eichler, Sunday, December 2, 2012:
These distinguished readings are full of subtlety, tonal refinement, and a sense of accumulated
The group's choices in phrasing and articulation, as in the Quartet Op. 135, can on occasion make
familiar passages seem freshly reconsidered. That said, there's also no chasing after effect. Even
in the most violent stretches of the "Grosse Fuge," the Lydian steers clear of tonal extremes, the
kind of expressionism avant la lettre that some ensembles read back into this music. In Op. 127,
the music's links to tradition come across as palpably as its revolutionary qualities. The
famed Op. 132 is dominated by a prayerful reading of its sublime slow movement. This set, in
short, is the work of veteran chamber musicians who have not lost their capacity for wonder at
what Stepner describes as "Beethoven's burning need to communicate an exalted, complex, life-affirming
vision of musical possibility."
From Fanfare Magazine's Daniel Morrison, January/February 2013 issue:
In its recordings, the Lydian Quartet has been associated primarily with
20th-century American music, although it has ranged much more widely in
its concertizing. Here it tackles the very pinnacle of the standard quartet
repertoire, in competition with virtually every distinguished string quartet
of the past half-century and beyond. Fortunately, the Lydian contribution is
far from redundant, for these are fine and distinctive performances, recorded
in very realistic sound. The Lydian players take what might be termed a
"classical" approach to these iconic works, in that they tend to set a tempo
and hold it firmly, although not without a tasteful application of rubato at
some points. They are also particularly concerned with rhythmic precision
and clean, clear articulation. They neither rush nor linger, generally
avoiding extremes of tempo. These tightly organized performances are further
characterized by well-focused tone, precise intonation, shapely phrasing,
and judicious pacing. They also display an unusual degree of clarity and
attention to balances among the instruments, with a more open, less-blended
sound than that produced by such Central European ensembles as the Alban Berg,
Smetana, and Takács Quartets. This clarity is a major asset in handling the
often complex texture of Beethoven's writing, and exchanges among the
instruments are unusually well defined.
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