Jaunā Gaita nr. 217, jūnijs 1999

JG 217

JG 217 features a powerful story by Pēteris Mežulis (Latvia) The Angel of Bučauska. The action takes place in a late 19th century Russian Orthodox Church in Bučauska. We meet and listen to the angel depicted in the church's cupola, follow the career of its architect, Jānis Fridrichs Baumanis, and are drawn into a kaleidoscope reflecting Latvia's cultural history, architectural strivings, the destruction of war and the breath of eternity.

Laiku grāmata by Pauls Bankovskis (Latvia), reviewed by Gundars Pļavkalns (Aus.) likewise jumps in time to altered states in history. Telma, Josef, Esmeralda, the three main protagonists, change in each incarnation. The novel falls short as a fully convincing totalitarian fable, writes Pļavkalns, but he does predict a bright future for the author.

The poetry section features translations from six twentieth century poets: T.S. Eliot (tr. Jānis Krēsliņš), Yvan Goll (tr. Aina Kraujiete), Jaroslav Seifert (tr. Aina Kraujiete), Octavio Paz (tr. Aina Kraujiete), Wislawa Szymborska (trs. Jānis Krēsliņš and Aina Kraujiete), Homero Aridjis (tr. Aina Kraujiete) It concludes with a translation of the old British ballad Edward (tr. Juris Rozītis).

V.Frickauss (Australia) analyses some unusual aspects of Latvia's first biographical dictionary Es viņu pazīstu (I know him), 1939. It was edited by Žanis Unāms with President Kārlis Ulmanis personal blessing. Many prominent opponents were excluded, while the spelling of names was made to conform to linguistic rules, disregarding, in some cases, actual usage by their owners. Frickauss is also concerned that the files for a second edition may have been used in the planning of the Soviet 1941 deportation.

Andris Vītoliņš (Latvia) concludes his commentary which began in JG216 by analyzing some of the wider issues raised by Ingrīda Zemzare's (Latvia) study Tālivaldis Keniņš, the well-known Latvian composer living in Canada. He argues against the existence of a Latvian cappella musical tradition and traces the development of the Latvian song festival repertoire. He also examines the issue of national vs. world culture in music, and selects Jānis Mediņš as, perhaps, the pre-eminent Latvian composer.

Architect Raimonds G. Slaidiņš offers his opinion as An Architect of the Diaspora with the Eye of an Emigre in Riga on the future of the Museum of the Occupation. Built by the Soviets in Riga's old town to glorify the Red Riflemen of the Russian Revolution, this museum has become very controversial. Slaidiņš concludes that this example of Soviet functional box design is ideal for representing this bleak time in Latvia's history.

Jūrate Avižienis (USA) discusses the memoirs of Dālia Grinkēvičiūte's experiences in Russian prison camps, 1941-49, from the age of 14. As the description of prison and work camps was illegal, there is little written evidence about them. For that reason Grinkēvičiūte's attempts to preserve her experiences are important.

Imants Zemzaris (Latvia) opposes the notion that only a musician who has competed and won at international competitions is worthy of recognition. Zemzaris draws attention to local Latvian festivals, especially last summer's festival in Madona, led by directors of regional music schools.

Anita Liepiņa (Canada) reviews 3 documentary films directed by Dzintra Geka (Latvia). Latvia is 80 (1940 - 1995) is an award-winning, 40 minute overview of Latvia's recent history. Also, Geka continues her series A Century of Film in Latvia with two short documentaries on newsreel director Eduards Kraucs and Vilis Lapenieks, director of Latvia's first feature film.

Laimonis Mieriņš (Great Britain) reviews a traveling exhibition of Antonio Canaletto's (16971768) paintings and drawings of Venice.

Elga Rodzē-Ķīsele writes an obituary of teacher, translator and literary critic Lucija Bērziņa-Felsberga who died in January, at age 91, in Sydney, Australia.

In Kiberkambaris, Juris Žagariņš tries to start a flame in the Latvian language mailing list SVEIKS by asking whether the US war against Iraq might reflect prejudice against Muslim nations due to their opposition to women's equality.

In the book section Dr.Benjamiņš Jēgers (USA) praises Pēteris Vanags' (Latvia) doctoral thesis on the first books published in Latvian. Juris Silenieks (USA) judges Raimonds Staprāns' (USA) collection Four Days in June and Other Plays as ground-breaking. Late starter Gunars Bekmans' (USA) second prose collection Latvians There, Latvians Here remains on an anecdotal level says Biruta Sūrmane (USA). The strength of Lūcija Bērziņš' (Australia) memoir is its picture of ordinary post-war immigrant life in Australia notes Gunars Zvejnieks (Sweden). Jānis Krēsliņš (USA) sketches a quick overview of eleven recent studies in English on the Baltic States' external relations.

The cultural summary notes such highlights as the 40th anniversary of the Toronto Latvian Concert Society.

The cover and frontispiece is by Ilmārs Rumpēters (USA). Also featured is a photograph by Jānis Gleizds (Latvia).

Ivars Kops and Juris Zommers

Jaunā Gaita