One music director conducted the other in Brahms’s first piano concerto. It was the 50th anniversary of Barenboim’s first appearance with the Berlin Philharmonic and Simon Rattle played up the emotion with a dramatic embrace.
Barenboim has since appeared with the orchestra 260 times, as pianist and conductor. He narrowly lost out to Rattle for the music director’s post when Abbado resigned in the late 1990s.
He is still being talked of as a stopgap successor when Rattle leaves in 2018.
Long after both have gone, history will have to decide which of the two left a greater mark on Berlin and the Philharmonic.