Thursday, December 16, 2010

Frank Sinatra: Send in the Clowns


Frank Sinatra sings "Send in the Clowns," which he recorded in 1975; you can listen to his version here.

Here is some background notes from Wikipedia:
"Send in the Clowns" is a song by Stephen Sondheim from the 1973 musical A Little Night Music, an adaptation of Ingmar Bergman's film Smiles of a Summer Night. It is a ballad from Act II in which the character Desirée reflects on the ironies and disappointments of her life. Among other things, she looks back on an affair years earlier with the lawyer Fredrik. Meeting him after so long, she finds that he is now in an unconsummated marriage with a much younger woman. Desirée proposes marriage to rescue him from this situation, but he declines, citing his dedication to his bride. Reacting to his rejection, Desirée sings this song. The song is later reprised as a coda after Fredrik's young wife runs away with his son, and Fredrik is finally free to accept Desirée's offer.

Sondheim wrote the song specifically for the actress Glynis Johns, who created the role of Desirée on Broadway. The song is structured with four verses and a bridge, and uses a complex triple meter. It became Sondheim's most popular song after Judy Collins and Frank Sinatra recorded it in 1975. Subsequently, Sarah Vaughan, Dame Judi Dench, Grace Jones, Barbara Streisand, Shirley Bassey, Zarah Leander, Tiger Lillies and many other famous artists have recorded the song, and it became a jazz standard.
[There is also a wonderful rendition by Barbra Streisand here.]

Send In the Clowns
By Stephen Sondheim

Isn't it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
You in mid-air.
Send in the clowns.

Isn't it bliss?
Don't you approve?
One who keeps tearing around,
One who can't move.
Where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns.

Just when I'd stopped
Opening doors,
Finally knowing
The one that I wanted was yours,
Making my entrance again
With my usual flair,
Sure of my lines,
No one is there.

Don't you love farce?
My fault, I fear.
I thought that you'd want what I want -
Sorry, my dear.
But where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns.
Quick, send in the clowns.

What a surprise.
Who could foresee
I'd come to feel about you
What you'd felt about me?
Why only now when i see
That you'd drifted away?
What a surprise.
What a cliché.

Isn't it rich?
Isn't it queer?
Losing my timing this late
In my career?
And where are the clowns?
Quick, send in the clowns.

Don't bother - they're here.

2 comments:

  1. Deborah Pardo-KaplanDecember 16, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    I like Frank's version, but Barbara's rendition is filled with passion and drama that makes the film's context a reality. Who could ever sing better than Barbara. No one outshines her (not even Celine).

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, Deborah, for your comment. I also like Barbra's version. She is a phenomenal singer. It was a hard choice on which version to post but this time I went with Sinatra.

    ReplyDelete

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