With all the reports of financial struggles and labor clashes that have dogged the Philadelphia Orchestra this season, you can lose sight of the fact that on any given night this storied institution will probably prove anew that it remains one of the country’s premier ensembles. Certainly no other American orchestra has cemented as durable and fruitful a relationship with Simon Rattle, the chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic and one of the world’s more provocative conductors.
The news media have consistently cast Mr. Rattle as the one who got away: a putative candidate for the position of music director in Philadelphia before Berlin snapped him up. Watching him work with the Philadelphia players during their latest visit to Carnegie Hall on Friday evening, you sensed an enduring mutual admiration.