Another Brass Band Advent Calendar: 10. Send in the Clowns

A fabulous Fodens flugelhorn solo of Stephen Sondheim’s number

  • Piece: Send in the Clowns;
  • Composer: Stephen Sondheim;
  • Arranger: Alan Fernie.

At one time, Christmas was a traditional time of year for circuses as well as pantomimes. Till the late 1980s (you know, that point where Ted Rogers said “the Oxbridge lot had taken over”), no Boxing Day was complete without a televised circus. At Kings Hall, the Belle Vue Christmas Circus used to be shown on ABC (weekends from 1956 to 1968) and Granada, depending on which day Boxing Day fell on.

For our tenth window, we have a stunning Alan Fernie arrangement of Send In The Clowns. Written by Stephen Sondheim in 1973, it featured in the musical A Little Night Music. Sondheim’s musical is an adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night.

Our YouTube clip came from Foden’s Band’s Obrasso Records CD, Brass Night (The Music of Alan Fernie). If you know somebody who is new to brass bands yet likes musicals, this can be a good Christmas present. With Alan Fernie’s arrangements (and a little help from Nicholas Childs), you could be in for a good ride.

Behind tomorrow’s Advent Calendar door, we have what is one of the most iconic test pieces ever committed to manuscript. Hold on tight; this will be a cracker.

S.V., 10 December 2019.

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