试着告诉读者,生活是多样的。每一个活着的人,在多元化的人生时空里, 扮演着某种角色,向着不同的方向展现着自己的千姿百态,书写着与众不同的生 命华章。


(2012-02-20 17:09:22) 下一个
 Send in the Clowns


Isn't it rich? Are we a pair?这是不是很荒唐?我们是搭档?
Me here at last on the ground. 我终于落了地
You in mid-air 你却悬在半空里
Send the clowns. 派个小丑登场吧。

Isn't it bliss?这是不是很滑稽?
Don't you approve?难到你不同意?
One who keeps tearing around.一个四处奔忙。
One who can't move,一个钉在原地,
Where are the clowns?小丑在哪里?
Send in the clowns.派个小丑登场吧。

Just when I'd stopped opening doors, 就在我不再开门的时候,
Finally knowing the one that wanted 才最终明白,我的需要,
was yours,是你,
Making my entrance again with my于是我再施展,
usual flair, 以往的魅力,
Sure of my lines, 明确我该说的,
No one is there. 可四周围没了人。

Don't you love farce?你喜欢闹剧吗?
My fault, I fear. 这是我的错,我恐惧。
I thought that you'd like what i我以为你要的跟我的,
want 一样,
Sorry, my dear对不起,我亲爱的,
But where are the clowns?可是,小丑在哪里?
Quick, send in the clowns. 快,派个小丑登场吧。
Don't bother, they are here.不用麻烦了,他们在这里。

Isn't it rich? 这是不是太荒唐?
Isn't it queer. 是不是很可怕,
Losing my time this late 我失去了这么多时间
in my career?在我的事业上?
Where are the clowns!小丑在哪里?
There ought to be clowns 这里应该有小丑,
Well, may be next year....或许, 明年吧。。。


"Send In The Clowns""派个小丑登场吧"获得葛莱美奖年度最佳歌曲。Stephen Sondheimde1"小夜曲"于1973年2月25日在百老汇舒伯特剧院推出."Send in the Clowns"是本剧最受欢迎的名曲,在本剧中,这首歌出现于第二幕,"Send in the clowns剧情: 一个在舞台上颠倒众生的红伶,眼看昔日的男士们,个个均安身成家,好面子的她不信自己魅力已失,遂邀请众伉俪到她的乡间别墅度假,企图挽回昔日恋情。但是,当最后一位男士也拒绝了她,她终于得面对自己风华不再的残酷事实,而落寞的唱出这首歌......自嘲而又伤感地唱出了这首歌,发人深省、令人动容,无论词曲均是上乘之作。"小丑在哪儿?派个小丑上场吧"希望小丑出现在人生的舞台,用欢乐、笑声转移掉悲伤、难堪.. 但,有时小丑并没有及时出现在人生舞台....或许自己就是舞台中的小丑.....或许小丑失约了....或许小丑下次才会来..... 失恋叫小丑进来干嘛呢?这里的典故来自马戏团,马戏团里不管出了什么意外,就会有小丑出场,转移大家的注意。 派个小丑上场吧


Send in the Clowns

"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 Desir□ 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. Desir□ proposes marriage to rescue him from this situation, but he declines, citing his dedication to his bride. Reacting to his rejection, Desire 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 Desires offer.

Sondheim wrote the song specifically for the actress Glynis Johns, who created the role of Desir□ 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 Frank Sinatra recorded it in 1973 and Judy Collins's version charted in 1975 and 1977. Subsequently, Sarah Vaughan, Judi Dench, Grace Jones, Barbra Streisand, Shirley Bassey, Zarah Leander, Tiger Lillies, Ray Conniff and many other famous artists have recorded the song, and it became a jazz standard.

The "clowns" in the title do not refer to circus clowns. Instead, they symbolize fools, as Sondheim explained in a 1990 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'.... [I]t's a theater reference meaning 'if the show isn't going well, let's send in the clowns'; in other words, 'let's do the jokes.' I always want to know, when I'm writing a song, what the end is going to be, so 'Send in the Clowns' didn't settle in until I got the notion, 'Don't bother, they're here' which means that 'We are the fools.'

In a 2008 interview, Sondheim further clarified: As I think of it now, the song could have been called 'Send in the Fools.' I knew I was writing a song in which Desire is saying, 'aren't we foolish' or 'aren't we fools'? Well, a synonym for fools is clowns, but 'Send in the Fools' doesn't have the same ring to it.

A Little Night Music

In an interview with Alan Titchmarsh, Judi Dench, who performed the role of Desire in London, commented on the context of the song. The play is "a dark play about people who, at the beginning, are with wrong partners and in the end it is hopefully going to become right, and she (Desiree) mistimes her life in a way and realizes when she re-meets the man she had an affair with and had a child by (though he does not know that), that she loves him and he is the man she wants."

Some years before the play begins, Desire was a young, attractive actress, whose passions were the theater and men. She lived her life dramatically, flitting from man to man. Fredrik was one of her many lovers and fell deeply in love with Desire, but she declined to marry him. The play implies that when they parted Desire may have been pregnant with his child.

A few months before the play begins, Fredrik married a beautiful woman who at 18 years old was much younger than he. In Act One, Fredrik meets Desire again, and is introduced to her daughter, a precocious adolescent suggestively named Fredrika. Fredrik explains to Desire that he is now married to the young woman, whom he loves, but who is still a virgin and refuses to have sex with him. Desire and Fredrik then make love.

Act Two begins days later, and Desire realizes that she truly loves Fredrik. She tells Fredrik that he needs to be rescued from his marriage, and she proposes to him. Fredrik explains to Desire that he has been swept off the ground and is "in the air" in love with his beautiful, young wife, and apologizes for having misled her. Fredrik walks across the room, while Desire remains sitting on the bed; as she feels both intense sadness and anger, at herself, her life and her choices, she sings, "Send in the Clowns." Not long thereafter, Fredrik's young wife runs away with his son, and he is free to accept Desire's proposal, and the song is reprised as a coda.


Sondheim wrote the lyrics and music over a two-day period during rehearsals for the play's Broadway debut, specifically for the actress Glynis Johns, who created the role of Desire.According to Sondheim, "Glynis had a lovely, crystal voice, but sustaining notes was not her thing. 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:We hired Glynis Johns to play the lead, though she had a nice little silvery voice. But I'd put all the vocal weight of the show on the other characters because we needed somebody who was glamorous, charming and could play light comedy, and pretty, and to find that in combination with a good voice is very unlikely, but she had all the right qualities and a nice little voice. So I didn't write much for her and I didn't write anything in the second act.And the big scene between her and her ex-lover, I had started on a song for him because it's his scene. 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. And so he directed the scene in such a way that even though the dramatic thrust comes from the man's monologue, and she just sits there and reacts, he directed it so you could feel the weight going to her reaction rather than his action.And I went down and saw it and it seemed very clear what was needed, and so that made it very easy to write. And then I wrote it for her voice, because she couldn't sustain notes. Wasn't that kind of singing voice. So I knew I had to write things in short phrases, and that led to questions, and so again, I wouldn't have written a song so quickly if I hadn't known the actress.... I wrote most of it one night and finished part of the second chorus, and I'd gotten the ending.... [T]he whole thing was done in two days.[4][edit]LyricsThe lyrics of the song are written in four verses and a bridge and sung by Desire. As Sondheim explains, Desir□ experiences both deep regret and furious anger:'Send in the Clowns' was never meant to be a soaring ballad; it's a song of regret. And it's a song of a lady who is too upset and too angry to speakǔ 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 18-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.

Meter and key

The song was originally written in the primary key of Eb major.The song uses an unusual and complex meter, which alternates between 12/8 and 9/8.These are two complex triple meters that evoke the sense of a waltz used throughout the score of the show. Sondheim tells the story:When I worked with Leonard Bernstein on West Side Story, one of the things I learned from him was not always necessarily to think in terms of 2-, 4- and 8-bar phrases. I was already liberated enough before I met him not to be sticking to 32-bar songs, but I tend to think square. I tend to think ... it's probably because I was brought up on mid-19th and late-19th Century music, and you know it's fairly square; there are not an awful lot of meter changes.

You often will shorten or lengthen a bar for rhythmic purposes and for energy, but ... when you switch in the middle [of a song], particularly when it's a modest song, when you're not writing an aria, you know ... [I mean,] if you're writing something like Sweeney Todd, where people sing at great length, you expect switches of meter, because it helps variety. But in a little 36- or 40-bar song, to switch meters around is almost perverse, because the song doesn't get a chance to establish its own rhythm.But the problem is, what would you do?: Would you go, 'Isn't it rich? (two, three) Are we a pair? (two, three) Me here at last on the ground (three), you in mid-air.' Lenny [Bernstein] taught me to think in terms of, 'Do you really need the extra beat (after "ground") or not.' Just because you've got four bars of four, if you come across a bar that doesn't need the extra beat, then put a bar of three in. So ... the 9 [beat bars] and 12 [beat bars] that alternate in that song were not so much consciously arrived at as they were by the emotionality of the lyric.


"Send in the Clowns" is performed in two completely different styles: dramatic and lyric. The dramatic style is the theatrical performance by Desire, and this style emphasizes Desire's feelings of anger and regret, and the dramatic style acts as a cohesive part of the play. The lyric style is the concert performance, and this style emphasizes the sweetness of the melody and the poetry of the lyrics. 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:The dramatic performer must take on the character of Desire: a woman who finally realizes that she has misspent her youth on the shallow life. 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 teaches that the former should be steeped in self-loathing, while the latter should emphasize regret.[6] Thus, the former is clipped, with a break between "quick" and "send," while the latter "well" is held pensively.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: 'Maybe next year' as opposed to 'this year.' [Desire means,] 'All right, I've screwed it up this year. Maybe next year I'll do something right in my life.' So [it's] 'well, maybe next year' even though it isn't accented in the music. This is a place where the lyric and the music aren't as apposite as they might be, because the important word is 'next,' and yet the accented word is 'year.' That's my fault, but [something the performer must] overcome."Another example arises from Sondheim's roots as a speaker of American rather than British English: The line "Don't you love farce?" features two juxtaposed labiodental fricative sounds (the former [v] voiced, the latter [f] devoiced). American concert and stage performers will often fail to "breathe" and/or "voice" between the two fricatives, leading audiences familiar with British slang to hear "Don't you love arse?," misinterpreting the lyric or at the least perceiving an unintended double entendre. Sondheim agrees that "[i]t's an awkward moment in the lyric, but that v and that f should be separated."In the line of the fourth verse, "I thought that you'd want what I want. Sorry, my dear," the performer must communicate the connection between the "want" and the "sorry". Similarly, Sondheim insists that performers separately enunciate both "t"'s in line, "There ought to be clowns."The differences are illustrated and may be compared in the performances of Glynis Johns and Judi Dench[9] with those of Judy Collins and Frank Sinatra.The former are dramatic and meant for the theater; the latter are lyric and meant for the concert hall:[original research?]Glynis Johns personifies Desire:She created the character on Broadway, and her interpretation highlights Desire's regret and anger, for example, when she sings, "Isn't it rich?" As Glynis Johns did in the U.S., Jean Simmons created Desire for the U.K. stage in 1975 to similar effect. A popular revival of A Little Night Music in 1995 starred Judi Dench, and her rendition of the song has become highly acknowledged as one of the best. In her performance, she does not sing so much as tell the story, with bitterness as she hisses the line, "Isn't it rich?," and the hard "k" in "clowns." She won the Olivier Award for her performance.

In contrast with the Johns and Dench, Judy Collins's performs not as an actress portraying Desire but as a pop singer of a sad ballad.[10] She never played Desire in the theater; instead, she used the beautiful lyrics and melody to create a major pop hit. Similarly, Frank Sinatra performs a traditional ballad.

Popular success

In 1973, the play and song debuted on Broadway. The song become popular with theater audiences but had not become a pop hit. Sondheim explained how the song became a hit:First of all, it wasn't a hit for two years. I mean, the first person to sing it was Bobby Short, who happened to see the show in Boston, and it was exactly his kind of song: He's a cabaret entertainer. And then my memory is that Judy Collins picked it up, but she recorded it in England; Sinatra heard it and recorded it. And between the two of them, they made it a hit.In 1975, Judy Collins recorded "Send In the Clowns" and included it in her album, Judith.The song was released as a single, which soon became a major pop hit. It remained on the Billboard Hot 100 for 11 weeks in 1975, reaching Number 36. Then, in 1977, the song again reached the Billboard Hot 100, where it remained for 16 weeks and reached Number 19. At the Grammy Awards of 1976, the Judy Collins performance of the song was named "Song of the Year".

After Collins recorded the song, it was recorded by Frank Sinatra, Kenny Rogers, Lou Rawls and many others.

In 1985, Sondheim added a verse for Barbra Streisand to use in her concert performances. and recording, which was featured on The Broadway Album. In 1986, her version became a Number 25 Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary hit.

The song has become a jazz standard with performances by Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan, the Stan Kenton Orchestra and many others.


The song occurs on over 900 records by hundreds of performers in a wide variety of arrangements.[19] Among these are:

1973: Frank Sinatra recorded it on his album Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back1975: Shirley Bassey recorded Arthur Greenslade's arrangement of the song on the album Good, Bad, but Beautiful.
1975: Judy Collins recorded the song on her album Judith (arrangement by Jonathan Tunick)
1975: Bing Crosby, at the age of 71, recorded it for his album That's What Life Is All About.
1975: Zarah Leander, who played Madame Armfeldt (Desir□'s mother) in the German production of A Little Night Music recorded a German version titled "Wo sind die Clowns?".
1975: Frida (Anni-Frid Lyngstad) of ABBA recorded a Swedish-language version called "Var min clown?" (with Swedish lyrics by Mats Paulson) on her solo album "Frida ensam".
1976: Stan Kenton on his album Kenton '76
1976: Jazz guitarist Pat Martino recorded an instrumental version of the song for We'll be Together Again1977: Jazz vocalist Lorez Alexandria recorded an uptempo version for her album From Broadway To Hollywood which subsequently became popular on the UK jazz dance and soul scenes, eventually being rereleased as a 7 inch single on Jazzman Records in 2000.
1977: Guitarist and educator Ted Greene arranged the song for his Solo Guitar.
1977: Grace Jones recorded a disco version of the song for her debut album, Portfolio.
1977: Spanish singer Raphael recorded the song in Castilian on the album El Cantor ("The Singer")
1977: Elizabeth Taylor, although hitherto not a singer, recorded the song for the film adaptation of A Little Night Music, in which she played Desire.
1977: Mel Torm□recorded an uptempo version for his album The London Sessions, arranged by Christopher Gunning. Taken at a sprightly pace, with a bright, slowly building big band arrangement and a joyous saxophone solo by Phil Woods, it would seem at cross purposes with the material, but Torm gives a suitably wry reading which highlights the absurdity happening around him.
1978: The pop group Brotherhood of Man recorded a largely a cappella version for their album Twenty Greatest.
1978: Frankie Laine recorded the song for his British album Life is Beautiful. It was issued on a single in England.
1981: Jazz vocalist Carmen McRae recorded this song on her album "Live at Bubba's".
1983: Angela Lansbury sings the song live on the CD A Stephen Sondheim Evening, with Sondheim accompanying her on the piano.
1983: Elaine Paige recorded a version for her album Stages.
1985: Barbra Streisand recorded Jeremy Lubbock's arrangement on The Broadway Album.
1989: Roger Whittaker performed the song live at the Tivoli, Copenhagen, Denmark on March 27. This live performance was later released as an album Live and is also available on video.
1991: A version was recorded by Bryan Ferry during sessions for his abandoned album Horoscope, but has not been legitimately released. Some bootleg editions of the album contain the song as the final vocal track.
1992: Glenn Close performed the song live at Carnegie Hall in the concert Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall. Her performance was seen on the subsequent televised version of this concert, and can be seen on the CD and DVD releases.
1993: Krusty the Clown of The Simpsons covered the song on the soundtrack Songs in the Key of Springfield
1994: Renato Russo, a Brazilian singer, recorded it on his solo album called The Stonewall Celebration Concert
1995: Roger Whittaker recorded the song for his album On Broadway
1995: Howard Keel recorded the song and it is available on the album The Best of Howard Keel.
1998: Judi Dench performed the song during "Hey! Mr. Producer", an evening celebrating British theatrical producer Cameron Mackintosh.
1998: This song was covered by Jazz pianist Eric Reed for his album Pure Imagination.
1998: Tom Jones recorded the song several times between 1998 and 2005.
1998: Megadeth recorded the song live at the Hammersmith Odeon.
2000: The song was covered by the Tiger Lillies on their album Circus Songs.
2002: Mandy Patinkin performs the song on his album Mandy Patinkin Sings Sondheim.
2003: Jean Shy performs a unique version of the song with the JBBO on their album The Other Side Of Blue.
2004: Olivia Newton-John's version appears on the album Women of Song
2005: Bobo Stenson & Anders Jormin & Paul Motian Jazz Trio version appears on album Goodbye
2006: Opera Babes performed a classical version of the song on their album Renaissance.
2007: Peter Criss on his album One for All
2008: Mark Kozelek recorded this song and released it on his album The Finally LP
2008: Patricia Kaas recorded this song in German ("Wo sind die Clowns?") and French ("Faites entrer les clowns") and released it on her album Kabaret. French lyrics by Stephane Laporte.
2009: All Angels recorded a four-part version of the song for their third album.
2009: Catherine Zeta-Jones performed the song in the role of Desir□ in the 2009/2010 Broadway revival of A Little Night Music directed by Trevor Nunn
2011: Mathilde Santing recorded this song version for her live album Luck be a lady.
2011 Sandi Patty recorded this song on her album, Broadway StoriesOn September 7, 2010, the song was the subject-matter of the BBC Radio Four series, "Soul Music".

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biaochen 回复 悄悄话 回复tern2的评论:
但朗诵时则是另一回事。Have a good weekend!

tern2 回复 悄悄话 翻译的很传神。比如这两句:
Isn't it rich? 这是不是很荒唐?
Isn't it bliss?这是不是很滑稽?
看似极其简单的两句,但翻译出适合小丑登场的意境里,却需要思量再三。飘臣兄的翻译thumbs up:)