Stephan Pflicht: The Gerhard-Winkler-Chronicle

III. War years

1940 The Chianti-Lied play and the Italian style tango hit Frühling in Sorrent play belong to the big joint successes of Gerhard Winkler and his text writer Ralph Maria Siegel and still belong to the international tenor repertoire.

»Klänge aus aller Welt« is completed with No. 13 Blütenfest in Japan play, No. 14 Auf einer Südseeinsel and No. 15 Portugiesischer Fischertanz play.

Ständchen am Morgen play is the name of the second piece in the series »Eine Konzertfolge von Gerhard Winkler«, which, however, is not continued, presumably because of the war.

Gerhard Winkler 1940On 1st September Gerhard Winkler is drafted into the Wehrmacht. Thanks to the commander of the air base Königsberg in Neumark, who has a liking for him, he is assigned a position in military support. Gerhard Winkler had already been involved in the entertainment programme for the air base before and had dedicated his march Unser Kommandeur play to the then major and later wing commander Herman Kuhrt. His job now is to win well-known artists for social evenings of the air corps and to join in as pianist and conductor himself. It is this position and the proximity to Berlin that allow Gerhard Winkler to maintain close contact to music life in the capital.

The following compositions also appear in print:

Ständchen an Colombine play
Eine Reise nach Hawaii
Wenn ich Urlaub hab' play
Im Kerzenschimmer play
Bunte Palette (Suite)
Rot- Weiß- Grün play
Aladin's Wunderlampe play
Optimismus ist die beste Medizin play


1941 Gerhard Winkler writes a slow waltz for the Swedish baritone Sven Olof Sandberg Und wieder geht ein schöner Tag zu Ende play to the words of Bruno Elsner, whose talent for text writing he had discovered before when he met him in Berlin, where Elsner worked as decorator for a department store. Together with the famous text writer Bruno Balz he writes the slow fox So wird's nie wieder sein play,.created by the famous actress and singer Ilse Werner. These two songs belong to the greatest hits of the forties.

Doing his duty in military support Gerhard Winkler writes a choral piece, Heiliges Vaterland, to the words of Bruno Balz, a »Hymne für Fliegerstimmen und Militärmusik«, which is first performed under his direction by the soldiers and the music corps of the air base at Königsberg/Neumark.

Gerhard Winkler's march Unser Kommandeur play is recorded by the music corps of the air base headquarters Königsberg/Neumark under Fred Fritzlar together with Friedrich Schröder's march »Propeller frei«, also composed for this music corps.

Gerhard Winkler's work for military support also involves the organisation of entertainment programs in which many well-known artists appear, including Käthe Heidersbach from the Berliner Staatsoper, Ilse Werner, Grethe Weiser, Kirsten Heiberg, Tatjana Sais, Lizzi Waldmüller, Theo Mackeben, Friedrich Schröder, Hilde Seipp, Erwin Bootz, Peter Schaeffers, Bruno Balz, Aldo von Pinelli, Klaus S. Richter, Claire Schlichting as well as Otto Stenzel with the Orchestra of the Berliner »Scala« and Willi Schaeffers with his Berliner »Kabarett der Komiker«.

Hermann Frey, the Berlin original who had written many texts for the composer Walter Kollo, wrote the words for Gerhard Winkler's folksy song Im Goldnen Löwen war's zu Sankt Goar play, which belongs to the repertoire of Willy Schneider, a singer still popular today.

Print editions also appear of his compositions:

Wolken über Samland
So allein, schöne Frau play

Es steht ein Schloß im Süden play
O mia bella Napoli (Orchester-Fantasie)

with Magda Hain

1942 In May Gerhard Winkler meets 21 year old Magda Hain, who works for Siemens, sometimes appearing as hobby singer at small events and who sings for injured soldiers. The composer is so impressed by her unspoilt coloratura voice that he persuades her to try her luck as a professional singer and, together with Ralph Maria Siegel, writes a repertoire of songs especially for her.

For a text by Günther Schwenn, with whom he had worked before and with whom he was to work in friendly co-operation for decades to come, Gerhard Winkler writes Mach dir um mich doch bitte keine Sorgen (Ein Brief aus der Heimat) play, sung by Mimi Thoma and also by Lale Anderson, which soon became popular as as »Der tönende Feldpostbrief vom Belgrader Sender« (Musical army postal service letter from radio Belgrade) and which was included in the song collection »Briefe des Herzens« in 1943.

Gerhard Winkler, who has by now been posted to Berlin where he works for the air force film, signs an exclusive contract with Magda Hain on 10th Ocober.

In the same month he conducts Magda Hain's first recording with Die Vöglein im Prater play und dem Casanova-Lied play, which appears in print in 1943.

On 20th December Magda Hain apears at a public concert in the large studio at Berliner Rundfunk, singing these songs conducted by the composer. She is a sensational success.

The following compositions also appear in print :

Unter blühenden Orangen
Erinnerung an Rheinsberg
Froschkonzert play
Hochzeitsreise im Mai

1943-44 Magda Hain gives up her office job to have sufficient time for her singing career and Gerhard Winkler writes the following songs for her Großmütterlein play, Lied der Lerche play, Liebeslied (Es gibt kein Wort dafür) play, Alt-Berliner Kremserfahrt play, Capri-Fischer play, Blau sind die Nächte in Spanien play, Läutet, Glocken der Liebe play, Melodie meiner Träume play, Am Himmel ziehn die Wolken in die Ferne play, Hurra, der Zirkus ist da play und Eine Geige spielt leise von Liebe play, which are all recorded in time.

Gerhard Winkler with Magda HainThe 1943 recording of Capri-Fischer with Rudi Schuricke is one of the most spectacular record successes of the post-war years.

Gerhard Winkler publishes his song collection »Briefe des Herzens« with the three songs Mach dir um mich doch bitte keine Sorgen (Ein Brief aus der Heimat) play, Die alte Laube play und Liebe Mutter, weine nicht, written together with Günther Schwenn just as Wer weiß von uns, was morgen ist play - sung on record by Mimi Thoma - describing the hopeless spirit of the years of »total war«.

Gerhard Winkler goes on tour with Magda Hain for military support in France, Russia, Denmark, Finland and Norway.

In January 1944 Gerhard Winkler conducts Magda Hain's recording of the duos he composed for her with words by Herbert Ernst Groh Wenn die Geigen singen play and Hörst du das Lied der Liebe play.

During the last year of war Gerhard Winkler works in program planning for the army broadcasting station in Berlin.

The following compositions also appear in print :

Sonne des Südens
Tarantella toscana play
Casanova-Lied play

Wenn wir wieder tanzen gehn
Das Leben geht weiter play

1945 Gerhard Winkler witnesses the capture of Berlin from his home in Berlin-Wilmersdorf; Nassauische Straße 61. Soon afterwards he is working for Berliner Rundfunk in Masurenallee, under Soviet administration. He writes music for radio dramas and arrangements for the big orchestra of Berliner Rundfunk, conducted by Otto Dobrindt, occasionally conducting studio recordings and public performances himself.

Berlin Rundfunk OrchesterAt the broadcasting station Gerhard Winkler assigns first artistic functions to the singer Kurt Reimann, who had been persecuted by the Nazis and who was now taking up his interrupted career again, and then appears as conductor or accompanies songs at his concerts.

As musical director Gerhard Winkler writes several numbers for the first night of the Berlin post-war cabaret »Tric-Trac« founded by the text writer Fritz Beckmann in the Astor cinema on the Kurfürstendamm, for example Wenn unsre Träume. This composition and also Die Sprache der Liebe, with words by Günther Schwenn appeared in the Peter Scheffer Musikverlag and belonged to the first music publications after the war

Gerhard Winkler also works as free lance composer in Berlin, appears as pianist in American officers' clubs and composes the music for the comedy »Herzkönig« by Hemut Weiss, Curth Flatow supplying the song texts.

Gerhard Winkler's songs Capri-Fischer and O mia bella Napoli are Nos. 17 and 18 in the 1945/46 hitparade .

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