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 musical wisdom. 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.'" Read complete review here
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 Takacs 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.