How Do You Solve A Problem Like…

While looking over my Firestats, I came across an interesting link.  I have known for years that a common misconception surrounding the song “Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music is that it is an Austrian folksong.  This is false. It was the final lyric written by Oscar Hammerstein II and had nothing to do with Austria aside from the flower that the title comes from.  The misconception seems to have arisen during the emotional reprise of the song by Captain Von Trapp during the festival near the end of the musical.  In the movie, the overwhelmingly Austrian audience is moved to tears and join in song before bursting in thunderous applause.  This could give the impression that the song is of great importance to Austrian people.

Also of note is the fact that the musical is not widely known in Austria.  Although Salzburg makes quite a haul by giving tours of the city and surrounding countryside to fans of the show,  very few of the tourists are  Austrian.

Below is a German translation of Hammerstein’s original by an unknown translator:

DEUTSCH

Musik: Richard Rodgers
Text: Oscar Hammerstein
Deutsch: Unbekannt

Edelweiß, Edelweiß,
Du grüßt mich jeden Morgen,
Sehe ich dich,
Freue ich mich,
Und vergess’ meine Sorgen.
Schmücke das Heimatland,
Schön und weiß,
Blühest wie die Sterne.
Edelweiß, Edelweiß,
Ach, ich hab dich so gerne.

3 thoughts on “How Do You Solve A Problem Like…”

  1. I never gave much thought about what this song means to Austrians. As a kid, I loved the movie, but I haven’t seen it in awhile. I’ve never seen the stage show.

  2. Honestly, I never gave much thought to the reaction of Austrians to the show… just found it curious. Look for a possible post on reaction to the King and I which is a tale all its own. FCF did TSOM a few years back… apparently before you and yours were present. EHS also did it in the mid 90s.

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