The Jerusalem Quartet is widely considered one of the best of its generation, but the solidity of its playing and interpretive intelligence was barely half the story at Thursday's well-received Philadelphia Chamber Music Society concert.
More than in the past, the quartet revealed a stronger, more specific, more evolved personality at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater: While some quartets are a bristling alliance of four strong-minded soloists, the Jerusalem is the ultimate ensemble with a central aesthetic.
Even in Haydn's String QuartetNo. 76 No. 4 (Sunrise), which is so much about the interplay of four near-equal voices, one best remembered the quartet's overall sound, especially the opening chords that gave the quartet its nickname. Few sharp attacks, a fine legato line, and interpretive thoughtfulness reminded you that the group has made two Haydn discs for Harmonia Mundi and isn't about to treat these quartets as throat-clearers for the heavier stuff to come.