A CLOSE LOOK AT ANNA GERMAN
As long as I remember, that is, always, Anna German was extremely close to me. I do not know why? It is impossible to explain rationally. She simply was. Her personality, her charm made an impression on me when I was a very young boy. And this enchantment has continuously lasted till today.
To be a legend during life – this is a dream of many artists. Anna German managed to do it, although she had not been trying to become famous. She was known and admired in many countries all over the world, and her albums were released in a few countries. This prominent, gifted with an excellent voice singer was considered as an extremely romantic girl.
‘This star does not stop shining’
She received an inexhaustible splendor of the most valuable resources. The great creative talent, excellent intelligence, comprehensive education, diligence, high spiritual and sociable code of behavior. And this all is based on ideal outer conditions: tall, fair-haired, with lively face showing any subtle shades of her soul vibrations with irresistible suggestive strength. She personified nobility, generosity and subtlety of her feelings, and in music – she was a signer with a beautiful, moving, warm voice. All these values, in perfect proportions compiled in the personality of Anna German, made her a leading, great artist, in the scale of nearly the whole world. She was and is still a muse for many poets. Although it have been 31 years since her death, the remembrance about her still lasts and her songs are still heard – ‘This star does not stop shining’. This lyrical, recognizable voice, the Slovakian beauty resulted in assigning even pathetic features by those who did not know her. Whereas, she was a cheerful and witty person by nature and when she appeared somewhere, she became the soul of the company at once. She did not think about herself as a star. But her fans treated her so, anyway.
My first infatuation
When I had seen a tall girl with fawn long and thick hair on the TV screen for the first time, I was shocked; when she sang ‘Human fate’– I was flabbergasted. The purity of intonation and this wonderful tone of voice, subtlety of dynamics, and also some good vibrations were flowing from her. This was during the festive ‘Tele-Echo’ by Irena Dziedzic on 26 December at 6.40 pm in 1969. We met two years later during her concerts in my hometown Toruń. It was the beginning of our relationship for many years, or maybe even friendship? I used to be on her concerts in Poland and abroad – I was trying to be everywhere where she sang and I could listen to her and talk to her for a while.
The best Russian composers wrote for her
The artist was known on all continents. She quite often gave performances in our Eastern neighbouring countries. So, no wonder, that her popularity was enormous there. She was treated as a queen, welcomed as a goddess. She became a kind of a myth. In the former USSR Anna German had achieved everything which can be a dream of an entertainer. Sometimes she complained that she had to sing during 3 or 4 concerts everyday. It often happened that one concert had not finished yet, and audience was waiting for another one. Anna German did not descend the stage for 6 to 8 hours a day. When she was flying to Moscow, everything was had been buttoned to the last button. She did not have to worry or care about anything. The concert tour, recording studios, radio and television were waiting for Anna German. She also had a right to choose songs for recordings. The best Russian composers, poets and text authors wrote and composed for our singer. And she had the highest pay for concerts. She earned her living by concerts in USSR and lived in Poland. And what about her career? – here in Poland? When in 1986, just after the artist died, Tamara Smirnowa, during an experiment in an observatory in Kremlin, discovered a small asteroid circulating on the orbit between Mars and Jupiter, suggested the name ‘Anna German’ for it. This name was acknowledged by the International Planetary Centre in Cambridge in USA.
Her songs were heard through open windows
In the mid of 70s, I begged my mum to finance my trip by train of friendship to former Leningrad. No, I did not go there to visit monuments. It was definitely in the background. I went there for Anna German, I wanted to see with my eyes, feel and get convinced of her popularity in the USSR was. I heard about her in Poland so much…It is impossible to tell about it all, or describe how I ‘was growing’ in pride, that we Poles have Anna German. It was beyond my imagination. Everybody knew her everywhere and talked about her. Her songs were heard through open windows. Her hits were played on radio. Her albums were nearly in every shop. I bought a few of them and brought to Poland. I was glad about the fact that most people knew nearly the whole biography of German. And I also learnt a lot, although in some sense I consider myself an expert in the issue about German. I returned to Poland cheered-up, happy and full of emotions…I will never forget it!
I will not forget a visit to Anna German, an invitation for dinner, which had been prepared by Anna. It was the year 1976, Anna German had been a happy mother of her son Zbyszek for a few months. After dinner we went for a walk with her little son. At that time she lived in Reymont’s Alleys, near an old airport. To my astonishment, we went through a hole in a fence, with the child in a bogie, blanket, food for Zbyszek, drinks, onto a glade with green lush grass, full of flowers…..It was Anna German, nothing of stardom, poses, pretending….A normal woman, daughter, mother and wife.
A ready film scenario
She sang with her heart to hearts of people. She was real in her vocal message. Most songs from the repertoire of Anna German is a pure lyrics and poetic reflection over the sense of human life, and it concerns each of us. And what is interesting, songs of German reached to and are reaching to listeners of all generations, also the youngest one, about which there is an opinion that it is fascinated only with rock. The whole life of Anna was a ready film scenario. She did not feel a star, which she emphasized many times. In her life there was no place for rest, even when her cancer disease was getting stronger in the last years of her life – she flew to Australia. Her recordings did not become archaic, resisted changing fashion and are definitely timeless.
She cheered others
– I found Anna a phenomenon in the worldly music. She was far from envy or jealousy or favoritism….She hated exaggerated speech. She did not compete with anybody. She treated her every concert extremely seriously. She could practice before her meeting with audience for hours. No matter if it was a big concert or three songs performed on an occasion. Her great accuracy and consistence in behavior raised admiration and often confused people who were not used to accuracy and devoting themselves to what they were doing. She was cheerful and also modest and friendly to people. She did not like speaking about herself. She loved giving presents to her friends, wrote funny letters to them. She was a woman with high standard of irresistible peace and modesty. A meeting with Anna German, warming oneself with her warm-heartedness and her presence was like a prize. It was a purpose of a meeting with her – in order to feel a better man. Yes, a better man – because even if the way of her speaking or attitude made us feel shy, after the meeting with her everybody felt cheered up, without the problems with which they had come to her, which became really unimportant and trivial after a talk with Anna…
My favourite song, which I still listen to and which has been accompanying me for years, is ‘Do not regret’. At the moments of happiness I listen to it, when I am sad, I close my eyes and listen. I relax while listening to it. When I dream and I miss, I also listen to ‘do not regret, you do not need to slobber, because it happens so in life…This interpretation is a thrilling and reliable confession. Surely I believe the song, like others, which were left by Anna German. There is a small exception – there is the last song on the mentioned record: ‘Everything in life has its end’. I do not listen to it….I do not know whether it does not prove a kind of a feeling? The mentioned songs of German were recorded on her last long-play record, for Polish Recordings, in June 1978.
‘Human fate is not a fairy tale or a dream’
It can be said that August was a special month for Anna German. In August in the 60s she started singing for a wider audience. On 27 August 1967 in Viareggio she was given a prize of Oskar Dell Simpatia, for being the nicest artist of the meeting of stars of stages all over the world. Next day she had a tragic car accident on a motorway in Italy, after which she was lying unconscious for 12 days. She spent eight months in a plaster from feet to head, fighting for life.
It was after three years when she returned to stage. She was completely changed, marked by a stigma of tragic experiences. When she had sung ‘Maybe’ for the first time since the accident, people in the audience in the Warsaw Congress Hall were crying. She returned! She could fill the calendar with dates of concerts again. She got married to engineer Zbigniew Tucholski, gave birth to her son, she had home, work, which she loved – she was happy again, but not for long, unfortunately…
She was not a type of a star, she sang ambitious songs, with a good text. Sometimes her choices of repertoire were not favourable for her, but she had known since the beginning of her career what she wanted to sing and was consistent in this issue.
Her life motto were the words of one of her best songs – Human fate is not a fairy tale or a dream. The human fate is an ordinary day’ – it was how Anna German sang. This song, unlike any other from her repertoire, admirably corresponds with her biography finished on 25 August 1982, after the hopeless fight against the difficult disease.
She passed away in difficult times for Poland, in the year of her 20th jubilee of her artistic work and after 15 years after the tragic accident in Italy. The works of Anna German – a singer, composer, journalist and actress – done in such a short life – she was only 46 years old – remained a permanent value: value of all fans of her art…
– I am looking at her photos, I hear her voice – scenes of her concerts and meetings are moving in my thoughts like scenes of a film. I remember our night phone calls and this last meeting in Spring 1980 in Moscow, when she looked more beautiful than ever and in the hall of the Hotel ’Russia’ she was waiting for a bus taking her to a concert in the Hall of the Kremlin Palace of Meetings. Nothing showed at that time that she was incurably ill.
I was accompanying Anna German on her last earthly road – like thousands of her fans. To say farewell to her, I brought roses – which she had loved and about which she had sung so beautifully in the song ‘The moon and roses’. Roses are beautiful, delicate and fragrant, but live short. Anna passed away, she was on the earth for a while, as if on the run – in passing, she shone and disappeared….She disappeared but she is still in recordings, TV music, films – which she left and gave to all of us so generously.
For, a good remembrance about a somebody and his work remains. Who appreciates the standard and sensitivity in songs, should remember about Anna.