Last night I watched one of my favorite musicals, The Sound of Music. I love storybook tales and this one has such a great ending with the family escaping over the alps by foot into Switzerland. I was crushed when I recently learned the real story of the von Trapp family. They did not escape over the alps but instead left by train. I guess it was a better way to leave the country but certainly not as romantic and exciting as escaping by foot over the alps. There are quite a few differences between the movie and the real story of the von Trapp family, but for me, I will always have the movie version to dream about.

My favorite song in this movie is Edelweiss. It is a song written about a small white flower found in the alpine hills. It was the last song ever written and composed by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Although many assumed that Edelweiss was an Austrian folk song or even the Austrian Anthem, in actuality it was an American song. In fact, most residents of Austria do not even know the song Edelweiss. They only know about the movie because of the “Sound of Music” tours in Salzburg.

In the movie, Edelweiss is sung twice. The first time Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) sings the song at his villa after he rediscovers music thanks to Fraulein Maria (Julie Andrews). The second time the song is sung at the Salzburg Folk Festival.

This time he sings the song with the help of his family. My favorite part is when the audience starts to sing along with the family. I love the face Herr Zeller makes when the audience begins to sing along.

**EDITED: The original video I posted was removed. Here’s another video… although you need to click on the video to take you to youtube to watch it…

Edelweiss, Edelweiss
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.
Edelweiss, Edelweiss
Bless my homeland forever.

…and here’s a photo of the edelweiss flower (formerly known as Leontopodium alpinum), which is the national flower of Switzerland and belongs to the sunflower family. That must be why I love the flower and song!


photo by Böhringer Friedrich ~ from wikimedia

*EDITED  … posted a new flower photo – the original flower photo I posted no longer could be linked to its photo source.

13 thoughts on “edelweiss

  1. I always loved that movie….and I loved the song, Edelweiss. I have to confess, I was shocked AND surprised to learn, as an adult, that it wasn’t an authentic folk song but written only for the film.


  2. When I was really young, my sister and friends would play ‘Sound of Music’. We knew all the words and the songs. My sister always got to be the bride. She also was mother superior… I think I still am damaged by that. :-)
    Salzburg is one of my favorite cities in the world!


  3. Leslie, I may have to check them out after I finish my pile of books I am working on right now.
    Sandra, I too was suckered into thinking it was the Austrian Anthem or at least an important Austrian song.
    Sandi, So who were you? I hope not the Baroness Schraeder. I was lucky to go to Salzburg for a few days. It definitely is a beautiful place.


  4. I love the soundtrack to Sound of Music. I had the piano music when I was growing up and playing piano. Edelweiss was one of my favorite songs from the movie.


  5. Cool! I’ve never seen what the flower actually looks like.
    My favorite part of the movie is when the nuns take the wires out of the car and then say “Mother Superior, we have sinned.” :)


  6. Thanks, I love this movie. I never knew Edelweiss was just written for the movie, what a stunning revelation! Very cool to read the real story. I had actually seen the movie a couple times as a child before finding out it was based, although apparently very loosely, on a real family. It remains one of my “Favourite Things”!


  7. Annie, I also love that photo (but can’t take credit). I have also never seen one close up. The part when the nuns steal the auto parts and admit that they have sinned is also one of my favorite parts! What a classic line.
    Anne, I can’t tell you how crushed I was when I found out the real story. I found out right before my first trip to Europe in 1999 when I went to Salzburg. My uncle had a copy of the movie with a blurb about the real family.


  8. Love that movie. Didn’t the German/Austrian soldiers wear edelweiss on their uniforms (to show they could climb to the point where it grows – I thought above the tree line but of course I could be making this all up). I used to pull a Phoebe with the movie though with the kids when they were young and turn it off after the wedding, now we watch it all the way through. Another one I need to convert to DVD though.


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