Was “Edelweiss” Based on an Austrian Folk Song?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about musicals and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the musical urban legends featured so far.

MUSICAL URBAN LEGEND: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s song “Edelweiss” is based on an Austrian folk song.

“Edelweiss” was the last song that Oscar Hammerstein ever wrote. In fact, he was suffering from stomach cancer as he and his partner, Richard Rodgers, worked on the song, the final addition to their latest play at the time, The Sound of Music.

The pair were looking for a song that would express the feeling of loss surrounding Captain von Trapp having to leave his native Austria because of the Nazis. They wanted a song that could be performed as a folk song since the actor portraying von Trapp, Theodore Bikel, was an accomplished folk guitarist.

Continue reading “Was “Edelweiss” Based on an Austrian Folk Song?”