Origin/Composer: Richard Rodgers / Oscar Hammerstein II / The Sound of Music
Often assumed to be the national anthem of Austria, “Edelweiss” was actually composed just for The Sound of Music. It was the last song composed by the prolific duo Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. In fact, it was the last song composed by Oscar Hammerstein before his death soon after. It is sung twice in the Hollywood movie, the first time with the Captain and Liesl, and the second time with the whole von Trapp family at the Salzburg Festival, which finishes with a rousing chorus sung by the entire audience in defiance against the Nazi Anschluss.
My mother went to the US on an exchange trip in 1985, and when she returned, she returned with a copy of the score of “Edelweiss.” When I was about 5 years old, my father went to the US, a place I’ve never heard of. So my mother took out the piece and sung it to me. I didn’t learn the lyrics until I moved to the US and completed second grade. It was the first English song I’ve heard and learned.