Lyrics By Oscar Hammerstein II Music By Richard Rodgers
“Edelweiss,” a musical tribute to his homeland, is sung by Baron von Trapp at the concert. Evoking an authentic Austrian folk ballad, the song serves as subtle protest against the Nazi annexation of the Captain’s beloved Austria. The stage musical makes reference to the song having been sung earlier, but the scene is not depicted. In the film, that scene does appear: At the urging of his children, the Captain picks up a guitar – for the first time since his wife’s death – and quietly sings the song.
“Edelweiss” was not part of the score when The Sound of Music began its pre-Broadway tryout. The creators felt that a song was needed for the Captain, and when Hammerstein traveled to Boston, he crafted the lyric to a melody that Rodgers had written – one of the very few times in their collaboration when the music came first. Early drafts of Hammerstein’s lyrics included descriptions of the Alpine flower, and lines like “Edelweiss, edelweiss/ I’ll come back and I’ll find you” and “Look to your lover and hold him tight/ While your health you’re keeping.” It would be the last song Rodgers & Hammerstein would ever write.
So well constructed, “Edelweiss” has often been mistaken as an actual Austrian folk song. President Reagan had the Marine Band play it when the Austrian ambassador made an entrance to a state dinner in his honor.
COVERS & POP CULTURE
Edelweiss Covers Spotify Playlist
Every morning you greet me.
Small and white,
Clean and bright,
You look happy to meet me.
Blossom of snow,
May you bloom and grow,
Bloom and grow forever—
Bless my homeland forever.
"Edelweiss" (Rodgers/Hammerstein II)
© 1959, Copyright Renewed, Williamson Music Company (ASCAP) c/o Concord Music Publishing.
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.