It’s not an Austrian individual tune. The layout from both The Sound of Music and also The Man in the High Castle celebprices a really modern thing: political dissent out.

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The Man in the High Castle tells the story of an America that is no longer, in the traditional sense, American. It’s collection in a place that emerged from an Axis victory in World War II, through the area run in the eastern by the Nazi Reich and in the west by Japan. The present in this universe—its many dramas playing out in 1962, after a generation of Axis rule—concentrates on the little band of insurgents that rebel versus the police state that the previous USA has actually become. It’s an alternative history that does what all excellent different histories will certainly do: It supplies lessons around the history the show’s viewers are actually living.

The tone for The Man in the High Castle—the irony of it all, the violence of it all, the sepia-washed eeriness of it all—is collection, for each of its 10 episodes, by its title sequence. Which goes favor this: A film reel crackles and also whirs. Guitar strings strum, plaintively. The words refuse to wait for a proper introduction. “Edelweiss, edelweiss ...”


The Man in the High Castle’s theme song, which is of course a variation of an additional show’s theme song, is haunting both bereason of and despite its familiarity. Here is the iconic tune from The Sound of Music—a love song to a perchild, a love song to a nation, a love song to all that is swept up in the phrase “method of life”—transdeveloped into an anthem of dystopia. Here is a story around the tyrannies of fascism, set to a song that is known—or, at least, that has been known—for being soft and lush and also lullaby-choose. Here is a song of freedom, transformed right into among despair.
Which is all extremely reliable as a (musical) rhetorical device. “Edelweiss,” here, is percreated by the Swedish singer Jeanette Olskid, and her icy, thin rendition infoffers the song’s sibilants with an additional, informing hiss. Adding to the creepiness of the whole thing are the imperiods that acagency the song: Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline … all of them, prefer the song, acquainted and yet eerily changed.
But while the song is striking mainly bereason of its discordance, one way “Edelweiss” is at house in Amazon’s tale of victorious fascism is in its history: The song has actually never been the straightforward, waltz-favor lullaby its lyrics would imply it to be. It has actually constantly, in its way, insistently linked the individual and the political. And it has actually always functioned as a sort of elegy.
It’s a widespread misconception that “Edelweiss” is a timeless Austrian individual song, selected for The Sound of Music to carry to the display an included dash of social authenticity. It is not. It was written for the musical in the late 1950s by Rodgers and also Hammerstein, that wanted to produce a song for Captain von Trapp that would certainly subtly convey his regret and also his sadness and his pre-emptive nostalgia at having actually to leave Austria after the Nazi takeover. And given that the actor playing von Trapplication in the Broadmethod display, Theodore Bikel, was likewise an accomplished folk guitarist, the pair made a decision to compose his elegy as if it were, indeed, a folk song.
For the lyrics of “Edelweiss,” Rodgers and also Hammerstein concentrated on the Germale myths around the edelweiss freduced, renowned not only for its metaphor-friendly ability to withstand harsh Alpine winters but also for its symbolism of love’s triumphs: Suitors would climb the Alps to pick the flowers, providing them as presents that proved both their prowess and also their affection. The lyrics they created went, ultimately, favor this:

Edelweiss, Edelweiss Every morning you greet me Small and also white, clean and bright You look happy to meet me.

Blossom of scurrently, might you bloom and also thrive Bloom and also thrive forever Edelweiss, Edelweiss Bless my homeland forever.


In the High Castle variation of the song, the initial second-person lines—“eexceptionally morning you greet me”—have been jarringly rerelocated. The small, humale story, the “me,” has been reinserted via something larger and also arguably even more epic. What we gain rather are the descriptions of the white freduced prized for its capability to blossom in the middle of snowy winters. What we get eventually are adjectives that take on a new, chilling interpretation in the conmessage of the fascist routine that’s taken over America: “Small and also white, clean and bright …”
And, then, we acquire one jarring “you”: The “you” that stands in for the “homeland” that will come at the end of the song. The “you” that insists that the “homeland” is something whose needs can be sensibly disentangled from those of the world that live within it.

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Which is both striking and also, provided the song’s history, strangely appropriate. Rodgers and Hammerstein created “Edelweiss” via the intention that it would execute double duty: It wregarding be a song of acquiescence—to family members, to love, to the small satisfactions of stability—and also additionally of resistance. It was both a symbol and also an instrument of the Von Trapps’ fleeing of the Nazis—an embodiment of their idea that the “homeland” was somepoint that can, favor a flower that blooms in winter, make it through the harshness of fascist rule. The original song, Playbill notes, “stood for the indomitable heart of the Austrians under Nazi control.” In The Man in the High Castle, it represents the American version of the very same point. “Edelweiss,” right here, is a lullaby that is soopoint precisely because it insists, versus all odds, on remaining awake.