Which two maestros do Raducanu vs Fernandez call to mind?

Which two maestros do Raducanu vs Fernandez call to mind?


norman lebrecht

September 12, 2021

The gripping women’s final of the US Open, with two brilliant teenagers opening out a new era in world tennis, was a study in contrasts.

One player was forceful, tense, fast, ultra-focussed, risk-proofed.

The other smiled a lot and seemed to do much less. Every now and then she would take an impulsive punt at an impossible shot.

She came out the winner.

I kept thinking of two middleaged maestros in a major European capital, men of far greater experience who exhibit almost exactly the same dichotomy of character.


  • sam says:

    I don’t know, but I do know which maestro is a US Open tennis fan: Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

    He was shown many times on camera at the men’s semi-final between Auger-Aliassime and he-who-shall-not-be-named.

    Presumably the women’s final conflicted with his duties at the Met’s 9/11 concert.

    (There is no visual record of James Levine attending any sporting events in his 40 years in New York or Boston. Well, for the matter, has ANY New York music director attended ANY sporting event in the history of the NY Philharmonic?)

    • V. Lind says:

      Can never quite get with people who disdain sport. It’s like people who disdain the arts. Their arguments are remarkably similar. And involve snobbery, classic or reverse, and of course ignorance of whole bodies of work and approaches to life.

    • Ernie says:

      I might be wrong, but didn’t Mehta play on the NY Phil’s softball team?

  • Bone says:

    I’m gonna go with Barenboim vs Petrenko, but I can’t see any faults ascribed to the loser of the tennis match in either conductor; maybe I’m that far off-base.

  • L. says:

    Rattle vs Pappano?

  • E says:

    I smile as I read this. Apart from
    the description of the qualities and contrasts of style, linking that to conducting style makes my day. There is so much in common, apart from the athleticism. Nice.


    These two girls were charming, well-spoken, attractive, genuine, thoroughly likeable and a source of great pride to their parents. I can’t think of any two conductors who remotely display those characteristics.

  • Dennis Pastrami, MD says:

    What could possibly lead you to think that this analogy matters at all?

    • Dim Dinkle says:

      Who are you, the content police? Norman runs a very popular site with a huge readership… if you don’t like it, start your own site!

    • BRUCEB says:

      You clicked and you commented, so you helped keep the lights on. Thanks.

      And thanks for sharing your with and discernment. I’m sure we have all been suitably edified.

  • Truth says:

    Seriously? You report on sport?
    It’s not about sport, or conductors though, is it.
    You are now so out of control, Norman, and this blog has become a cesspit.
    Would you have reported on the tennis had the players been men, or had they been middle-aged, overweight women? Of course not.
    But, being out of control, you couldn’t resist showing how you have an obsession with nubile young women. That’s how brazen your lecherous behavior now is. We all see it.

    Again, is this how you want to be remembered?
    Get it under control and do something positive. Stand up for people in the music profession who are being treated badly, expose the corruption you now simply cover up.
    And do stop being such an obviously lecherous old man.

    • Midwestern Violin says:

      What a ghastly rant.

      What exactly is out of control except your sick mind?

      Come to my second city, I show an out of control lecherous old man right at the top of the circus, with a whole squad of minions at work to enable him.

    • WV1111 says:

      Projecting much?

  • Player says:

    Berlin? Barenboim and Runnicles?

  • Micaelo Cassetti says:

    Clemens Krauss and Karl Bohm.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Girls, play the best of 5 and I’ll watch. Otherwise, I think it’s toy tennis in the 4 major slams.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    Raducanu “seemed to do much less”?! And Fernandez was “risk-proofed”?! Did you happen to notice that Raducanu’s first serve was highly reliable and effective, while Fernandez had a seriously off-day on her serve — just for starters?

    It takes nothing away from both their achievements to note differences during the course of the tournament that had a predictable effect on the outcome of the final. Raducanu didn’t drop a set in the whole tournament (including qualifying rounds), but she also didn’t play anyone in the top 10. Fernandez’s last four matches all went three sets, many of them lengthy, as she beat three of the top five seeds plus Kerber, a four-time Grand Slam winner. All that extra time and exertion required of Fernandez rendered her a bit slower of foot and reflex in the final.

    The same, incidentally, applies to the men’s final, where Djokovic had the much tougher path to the final than Medvedev, having played five more hours against higher-ranked opponents than the Russian, and he, too, had an off serving day and was a touch slow.

    So: to which maestros would you like to compare D and M?

  • Cornishman says:

    Until the last paragraph I was thinking of Muti and Abbado… So do Djokovic and Medvedev also have musical equivalents?

    • Le Křenek du jour says:

      >” So do Djokovic and Medvedev also have musical equivalents?”

      To the admittedly doubtful extent to which such analogies apply, sure.

      • Medvedev: who else but Mravinsky?
      • Djokovic: Muti. (And if you find the simile derogatory to either man: you may well think so; I couldn’t possibly comment.)
      • Federer: Abbado. For the lightness of his touch, the sheer elegance of his style, the technical range and the subtle emotionality. Also the surprising evolution of his later career.
      • Nadal: Georg Solti. For the overwhelming power and unabating enthusiasm.

  • Michael McGrath says:

    Outside of condescending to two tennis players and sports in general, what is the point of this hissy-fit?