We did “Send in the Clowns” yesterday with Lisa Vroman.

Well, okay … really we are doing it today, but by the time you read this it will be tomorrow, since I only post Sunday music clips on Sunday. So I can’t tell you how Lisa Vroman did it, nor can I tell you what I think will be the case … but several have indicated it’ll be great fun for me to play the English horn solo.


First off, I have been told by management that I am playing second oboe rather than English horn. And I’ve been told that the English horn only plays one number: Sleeping Beauty Waltz. So even IF Send in the Clowns used EH I wouldn’t be playing.

But …

The solo in Send in the Clowns was not originally written for English horn!

How crazy is that? It became popular via the Judy Collins rendition, which switched the solo from clarinet to EH, but I’ll bet you a good amount of money that it will be on clarinet today (yesterday to you!). That’s the way Stephen Sondheim’s arranger wrote it. Trust me; I’ve played the show.

Here’s the version I’m guessing many of you know:

Barbra must have decided it should be on English horn too:

And here is the way it was originally written:

Here’s Mr. Sondheim (no clarinet OR English horn) coaching a student on the song:

And then … this is wonderful! … you get a variety of interpretations, all done by one singer (actress/impersonator Carly Sakolove)!:


  1. patti with an i

    Well, my opinion is probably colored by being used to it on EH, but I personally think that solo just cries out for the EH sound (nothing personal, Mike… or whoever…)

  2. I thought, patti with an i, that I would prefer EH as well, but when I did the show I grew to love the clarinet solo. And I’m not usually even a clarinet fan! It just seemed to work … something about the hollowness of the tone or something. Must be that straight bore compared to our conical bore! 🙂

  3. I know I was really shocked to find out the Big EH Solo was NOT a solo at all; would love to do the “reworked” version in a pops concert though. But I’d be ok if the clarinet had it, I’m usually a stickler for doing the original!