It's apparently finally done. Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic have penned a deal keeping him there through 2018. For how many weeks per year, we do not know.
What was the hold up? The AP story doesn't say.
Rattle's signing had been predicted by the Philharmonic before - and repeatedly over a period of many months - after a mysterious and confusing moment in which the orchestra wasn't sure whether it wanted to keep him.
No one is good enough to be musical leader of the Berlin Philharmonic. We all get that. Players have made that clear before with their complaining about Rattle and previous music directors. So maybe the past few months of Rattle not signing his contract were about getting players to be sure, to be really, really sure.
Rattle is a frequent visitor to the podium of the Philadelphia Orchestra, which has made it clear on several occasions it would like him to be music director.