Sunday, August 29, 2010

Edelweiss - Song # 32

No doubt most people are familiar with "Edelweiss" from the classic musical, "The Sound of Music." Richard Rodgers composed a brilliantly simple melody for Oscar Hammerstein II's lovely lyrics. If you didn't know better, you might believe it to be a old Austrian folk song. And thus it works very well as a summer camp song - more for the evening campfire than for the rowdier post-meal sing-a-longs in the mess hall.

It was the last song Rodgers and Hammerstein composed together. It appears twice in the film; near the end when the Von Trapp family sings it at the festival as a patriotic hymn, rousing the audience to join them. Good as that scene is, I prefer the first time it appears - when the children learn that their father knows how to play the guitar. He simply strums a few chords and tenderly sings to the children.

So - how about a few other versions of the song? Here is one by a popular Iranian singer who performs it as a protest against the current regime, just as Georg sang it to protest the Nazis:




And here is a link to a young girl who sang it on Britain's Got Talent and broke down in the middle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2SxoBTkfNQ

She did get a second chance - thanks to none other than Simon Cowell himself...

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