The musical and film of the Sound of Music is set in Austria in the late 1930s with Europe on the brink of the Second World War. In historical context Austria has been portrayed by some historians at the first victim on Hitler’s expansionism of the Third Reich as part of its plan to conquer Europe and remedy for the injustices in the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. This treaty , amongst other things, assigned guilt to Germany for starting the First World War and , under duress compelled it to pay reparations to the victorious allied nations and , in addition it lost terrorises and populations.
Austria , as part of the Austro Hungarian Empire during the First World War also suffered economic and territorial deprivation for being on the losing side after the Frist World War. The Austro Hungarian Empire split t up with the emergence of Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia. Austria emerged from the war poor and much reduced in terms of population, economy and its significance as a European power. This provided a fertile ground of resentment and aspirations from far right parties, in both Austria and Germany, to rekindle nationalism in both countries built upon resentment for their treatment after the First World War.
In the film, the portrayal of the Von Trapp family, as loyal but conservative Austria ns, fleeing their homeland across the border to Switzerland is somewhat at odds with reality as described by the Von Trapp family members themselves. Although Captain Von Trapp was not a supporter of any Fascist parties, he was a Monarchist who was nostalgic for the pre-war days of Imperial Austria , he, and his family were not forbidden to leave Austria . They in fact left, quite openly by Train and went to Italy and from their travelled to the United States and then commenced their theatrical careers.
There is an historical argument that counters the perception of Austria being the first victim of Germany’s expansion in 1930s quite apart from the fact that Adolf Hitler was in fact Austria n himself. The Anschluss, of 1938, in which Austria was incorporated into the Reich and in effect lost its status as an independent state, was no invasion of another country and forced against its will. The vast majority of Austria ns, welcomed the arrival of German troops in their country and greeted the incorporation into greater Germany with much enthusiasm.
It was seen as natural progression, atoning for its defeat and humiliation after the First World War and potentially leading to an economic revival similar to what occurred in Germany in the mid-1930s. Thus, it could be argued the main theme of the Sound of Music of Austria n as victims of Hitler aggression is somewhat at variance with the reality of what occurred at this time. Rodger and Hammerstein, the duo team who took the musical world by storm in the 20th century.
Bothe Rodger and Hammerstein had work indecently before coming together as collective team, Rodgers wrote the music whilst Hammerstein provided the lyrics. Although they duo have a few popular musicals such as olkhonma, the sound of music was emerly popular at the time, and has become of the classic overtime by being reproduced on stage and on film. What made this musical so popular, was the combination of Rodgers and Hammerstein nack of producing successful songs and lyrics but also they argued to be the right men at the right time.
H comment that that the first ten minutes of any musical theatre piece should define the style and themes to follow” this advice given from H is clearly presented within the beginning of the creation of the sound of music. . Most of the songs remained the same in the Broadway and film production of the sound of music, although there was some alterations in the placement of songs. The placement of the songs in musicals are of vital importance, as they are needed in emotional high points when diolage is not enough.
There are four songs where the placement is criual if it is going to affective. The opening song sets the tone for the rest of the production, this is what the audience will be expecting, the main “ I want song” which will reveal the main sesires of one more main characters, which blah suggest should be placed early on in the first act, the “ 11’oclock number” should be placed midway through act two, this song could beanyting from a ballad to a charm song, depending on kind of musical, but it must be energetic enough to captivate and carry the audience through to the following scenes.
The finale should stimulate an overarching emotion, leaving the audience with a powerful last impression. By applying these plaments of particular songs to the Broadway production of the sound of music. The opening scene for the film and the stage production, we are introduced to the main character Maria signing the hills are alive, this song introduces this theme of love, in particular the love of nature, this opening sense sets a tone for the musical and what it might lead on to.
For the hills Maria is singing are the ones that the von Trapp family will use to escape at the end of the of the film and the stage production. The song is a reflection the characters marirs desires, she finds it hard being constricted by the rules of the abby, and feels free and connted with nature when she is outside. Blah comments that the songs sense of abundance is raised to a structural level the B is phrase is repeats within AABBAC structure- end quote.
Thus creates both a sense of natural and God-given abundance with the add-on phrases that religion enternes in, “Church, blessed and pray” the intertine of music being grounded in both nature and religion, and blah argues that by the end of the film the von Trapp family have completed our course as we as an audience have listened to the music of nature, coming to the understanding that the musical communication is a place that the Nazis do not have accesses to. The I want song is different in the film and the stage production.
In the film, the song I have confidence, Maria sings about her upcoming journey and she wants expects to happen. As bla explains the I want song must come on early in act one, the song the nuns sing could considered the I want song, as they are wanting to know how they can solve a problem like Marie, or it could possibly be when Maria is teaching the children to sing do re mi, as she wants to bring the family back together again by bring back the joy of music even if she doesn’t epically say that within the song.
The 11 o clock song would the Ballard song, which is a love song or duet in this case with the song ordinary couple, this is shared between the captain and Maria as they sing about their future life together, and how all they want is each other. “An ordinary couple is all we’ll ever be, for all I want of living, is to keep you close to me. ” This song is placed in act two scene two.
Although this song does not make an appearance in the film adaption, the song Something good would be considered as the Ballard song as the captain and Maria sing together in a similar style talking about their love for one another “For here you are, standing there, loving me Whether or not you should, So somewhere in my youth or childhood I must have done something good”.
Then we have the finale song which should leave the audience with a strong and lasting impression, normally the song is a reprise but there may be a new song all together. In the Broadway production of the sound of music, the last song we have the von-Trapp family singing is the Song so long fair well which severs a nice ending, as the audience is familiar with the song, it is also appropriate ending as they are saying goodbye to the audience and the family are now connected as one.
In the film the finale song is changed, instead of so long fair well, it is climb every mountain, which also seems appropriate as they are literally climbing a mountain in the film but on a more symbolic level as they secribe their journey ahead in life Climb every mountain, Search high and low, follow every byway, Every path you know.
The music aids the character and dramatic development throughout the story, as I have disused, the multiple songs in the sound of music are used for different purposes. Rand h have created a warm affection associated to songs in the sound of music and to the story of the von Trapp family. The next two sections of the essay will discuss and compare the stage film productions of the sound of music and how the story of the true von Trapp family has been changed and realtered for dramatical purposes.