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Feb. 1973: A Big Band Played 'send In The Clowns'


RonPrice
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SEND IN THE CLOWNS: 1

 

In the generation that was born as the Baha’i Administrative Order was taking its first shaping in those hiatus years 1917 to 1937, the years before the implementation of the first teaching Plan in 1937, Stephen Sondheim was, arguably, consider as the greatest Broadway composer and lyricist. Born in 1930, Sondheim’s first significant work was for West Side Story in 1957. A song from Sondheim’s repertoire that had the biggest impact on me was ‘Send In The Clowns’ which premiered with the musical ‘A Little Night Music’ in 1973. I think I first heard that song in Melbourne in 1975. The story this song was based on was originally set in Sweden in 1900 and Send In The Clowns was sung “as two former lovers once again split up.”1 At the time, my own personal life seemed a perfect analogue for this song. This prose-poem explores my life, Sondheim’s work and the Baha’i Faith in my teens and before. -Ron Price with thanks to 1 “The Songs of Shirley Bassey: Send In The Clowns,” Internet Site, January 2005. :)

 

Your beautiful writing, Stephen,

may not have been so accessible,

but it was there for my generation,

the first in this final, this tenth stage

of history right from your delights--

West Side Story and A Funny Thing

Happened On The Way To The Forum

in those years when I was getting

warmed up for this pioneering life,

getting a kick start back in Ontario

back at the beginning of this dream,

when a tiny seed was planted,

when minor virtues were garnered

in that sweeter time and those now

nurtured imperfections are not seen

as so epically egregious to embarrass

the seraphim ruefully yawning

at their mention, nor will that shame,

as once I thought, topple the cities

and arrest the sun’s daily climb.1 ;)

 

1 Thanks to Roger White, “Lines From A Battlefield,” Another Song Another Season, George Ronald, Oxford, 1979, p.111.

 

Ron Price

January 23, 2005. :ph34r:

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