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And where are the clowns? There ought to be clowns Well, maybe next year It was written to suit the actress Glynis Johns, structured as 4 verses and bridge, with a compound-complex meter,. She saves herself for when she is ready to lose her virginity leaving Frederik in the dust for all 11 months of their marriage. Desiree goes on about her disappointments and ironies of life.

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The song itself is ironic actually. Here Desiree is a strong woman who shows no vulnerability until now, when she breaks down but uses the song to show her true feelings, of how she was sure of them finally being together. Funny how all this history between them and nothing has stayed permanent? Sondheim has numerous notes about this song, like so: And Hal Prince, who directed it, said he thought that the second act needed a song for her, and this was the scene to do it in. We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website.

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Send in the Clowns

Norton allowed the child to lie ill for a week - indeed to be at death's door - before he sent to inform me. They thought it would send people crazy. The song is structured with four verses and a bridge, and uses a complex compound meter. It became Sondheim's most popular song after Frank Sinatra recorded it in and Judy Collins ' version charted in and Subsequently, numerous other artists recorded the song, and it has become a jazz standard. The "clowns" in the title do not refer to circus clowns. Instead, they symbolize fools, as Sondheim explained in a interview:.

I get a lot of letters over the years asking what the title means and what the song's about; I never thought it would be in any way esoteric. I wanted to use theatrical imagery in the song, because she's an actress, but it's not supposed to be a circus [ As I think of it now, the song could have been called "Send in the Fools". She lived her life dramatically, flitting from man to man. A few months before the play begins, Fredrik married a beautiful young woman who at 18 years old was much younger than he.

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She tells Fredrik that he needs to be rescued from his marriage, and she proposes to him. She is, in effect, using the song "to cover over a moment when something has gone wrong on stage.

Midway through the second Act she has deviated from her usual script by suggesting to Fredrik the possibility of being together seriously and permanently, and, having been rejected, she falters as a show-person, finds herself bereft of the capacity to improvise and wittily cover. I wanted to write short phrases, so I wrote a song full of questions" and the song's melody is within a small music range: And it's a song of a lady who is too upset and too angry to speak— meaning to sing for a very long time.

She is furious, but she doesn't want to make a scene in front of Fredrik because she recognizes that his obsession with his year-old wife is unbreakable. So she gives up; so it's a song of regret and anger, and therefore fits in with short-breathed phrases. The song was originally performed in the key of D flat major. Sondheim tells the story:. The lyric style is the concert performance, and this style emphasizes the sweetness of the melody and the poetry of the lyrics.

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Most performances are in concert, so they emphasize the beauty of the melody and lyrics. Sondheim teaches both dramatic and lyric performers several important elements for an accurate rendition: She is both angry and sad, and both must be seen in the performance.

Two important examples are the contrast between the lines, "Quick, send in the clowns" and "Well, maybe next year. Sondheim himself apologizes for flaws in his composition. For example, in the line, "Well, maybe next year," the melodic emphasis is on the word year but the dramatic emphasis must be on the word next:. The word "next" is important: