A Barenboim debut

A Barenboim debut


norman lebrecht

January 07, 2023

Last night, we are told, was the first time Daniel Barenboim and Martha Argerich had appeared together with the Berlin Philharmonic.

Their collaboration goes back almost 75 years to their childhood in Buenos Aires.

Amid the gloomy news of Barenboim’s health, this reunion at the Philharmonie was exceptionally touching.

UPDATE: After the Schumann concerto, which Martha played and Daniel conducted, they played a four-hand encore, a suite from Bizet’s Jeux d’enfants.

One of our readers sent us this affectionate moment.

Main photo: Vincent Mouret, second Alvaro Mendizabal

And another snapshot:


  • Patricia L Miller says:

    I watched today’s concert (same programme) live on Digital Concert Hall. Exceedingly touching occasion.

  • Antonio says:

    Sounds like Baremboin’s goodbie

  • MacroV says:

    According to the DCH, this is Argerich’s first BPO appearance since 2014, when she played Schumann with Chailly. Before that, 2007. Before that, probably in the Abbado years. She doesn’t seem to come to them a lot.

    • Quinten says:

      Well, she seems to avoid the ‘big’ orchestra’s. Her last concert with the Concertgebouw Orchestra was in 1998. Her debut with the Vienna Phil was as late as 2017!

  • Rudiger says:


  • Peter Snell says:

    A combination of excellence – two great musicians brought together by their love for music.

  • Rachelle Goldberg says:

    Hoping to hear all or at least some of the concert

  • trumpetherald says:

    The Schumann was fantastic…..The encore very touching on an emotional level,yet shockingly unrehearsed,exaggerated,and rhytmically almost unrecognisable….The Brahms probably the worst performance on the Digital Concert hall: Sluggish,tentative,the musicians left alone in tiying the loose ends together…..However,it was touching,especially his distrubiting the flowers to the orchestra members at the end…

    • Spare says:

      Totally agree. Berlin Phil. way below its best – couple of the extras in the wind and brass sections not up to par…

    • trumpetherald says:

      Having said this, i think he looked much better and was far more in command than in last summer´s concerts with the West Eastern Divan..I believe the weeks of rest had a good effect on him.

  • Barbara Nicholson says:

    This may be the last Barenboim concert. I watched as the music gave him strength, as it did to Abbado in his decline. As the Marstro conducted Brahms we saw him conduct more animatedly as the music went on. Afterwards he received flowers. He the proceeded to hand out individual blossoms to each and every woman musician in the orchestra. Walking and talking a bit to each one. The music was wonderful as was Martha. But he ended on a high note – for himself especially. Seeing him smile was the best.

  • Una says:

    So heart-warming amidst a world ptactically falling apart in so many different ways.

  • TITUREL says:

    I also watched this on the Philharmoniker’s DCH (which, if you’ve not seen, you must. Incredible camera work and great sound). There was no indication-that I observed- that this was DB’s final concert. He did the bare minimum physically, mostly shaping with his left hand, only occasionally giving robust beats for ensemble with his right. Argerich’s level of artistry is, at 80, as great as ever. Her fantasy, color, rubato and rhythmic flexibility was completely supported by DB and this great orchestra, who were with her all the way. Simply breathtaking.

    • Annabelle Weidenfeld says:

      I so agree Titurel! I watched it twice – yesterday live, and this morning repeated. Luckily they are now editing and it will shortly be permanently available on Digital Concert Hall so we can watch it again and again! On top of the sheer quality of the performance and transmission, I found it deeply moving.

  • Zoobpiano says:

    Jeux D’Enfants IS a Suite so MA and DB didn’t play a Suite from it. Did you mean a movement from it? If so it would be interesting to know which one as I don’t think they have played it together before.

  • Dumky3 says:

    Was fortunate to attend the first of the 3 concerts they performed. Touching as the 4 handed encore was, it was even more moving later. Once the orchestra had left the stage Barenboim returned, alone, to thank the audience.