Jaunā Gaita nr. 73, 1969
1968 was the fiftieth anniversary year of the foundation of democratic Latvia. Throughout the past year Jaunā Gaita has been assessing Latvia's social, political, and cultural problems during these 50 eventful years. A large part of issue No. 73 is devoted to criticism and documentation of cultural events among émigrés in Europe, North America, and Australia during the anniversary year of 1968. Page one is taken by an excerpt of prof. Dr: Chem. M.E. Straumanis' (University of Missouri) article in which he fears a precipitous end for Latvians and their culture: „The rumors that the Latvian people are heading towards extinction in spite of their cultural activities in Latvia and in emigration are founded ones." Dr. Straumanis visited Soviet Latvia in 1966.
The editors of JG in an article „Latvian Emigré Cultural Life in 1968", have compiled an impressive array of activities in various Latvian colonies throughout the free world. Only the most significant musical events, theatrical productions, and exhibitions of paintings and sculpture are listed. The three major events of the year had been the Latvian song festival in Cleveland, Ohio, the song festival in Hanover, Germany, and the Annual Latvian Festival in Australia. About the activities in 1968, the editors make these, conclusions: 1. The major Latvian cultural center is North America, where activities have occured in all fields investigated, but the greatest accomplishments have been shown by painters. The colonies in Europe have excelled in musical events, but the colonies in Australia - in theater. 2. Among individual artists the greatest intemational renown has been attained by composer G. Pone and painter S. Lūkins. 3. The most frequent notice of Latvian events in the non-Latvian press has occurred in German newspapers.
In a pictorial presentation „The Anniversary Year - 1968" the editors draw our attention to various moments of failure and success, joy, and tragedy of Latvia during the last fifty years. As the greatest Latvian asset in 1968 the editors see the vibrancy of young Latvian poets that is developing both in Latvia and in émigré colonies.
Alberts Jērums in an article „Two Important Concerts in 1968" gives critical analyses of the recent work of Latvian composers. Without excessive optimism he finds many works of considerable maturity and great promise, although the performing side of the concerts, in his opinion, had left much to be desired. He declines to review the work of G.Pone on the grounds that it may not be music.
In the second and concluding installment of „The Novel and the Anti-novel" Dzidra Kalniņa (Riga) continues her insightful analysis of James Joyce's novel Ulysses and Wolfgang Koeppen's novel Triebhaus. The essay is written in the special code of criticism that has been developed by Eastern European literati.
The young Latvian poetess Ausma Jaunzeme (Stanford University is represented by a longish poem „Morphinic Dreams" in which she retells an experience that appears to be the poetess' understanding of a „bad trip." The poem can also be noted for its eroticism. This issue also presents four poems of the Lithuanian poet Alfons Maldonis, b. 1928, and three poems by Estonian Enn Vetemaa, b. 1936. If the dominant theme of the Lithuanian's work is nostalgia, then the Estonian derives his effects from surrealistic leaps into the future and quick and witty rearrangements of our spatial conceptions. Short stories to this issue are contributed by Reinis Zeibolts (Edinburgh) and Gundars Pļavkalns (Kensington Gardens, Australia).
Dr. Brūno Kalninš (University of Stockholm) reviews favorably Dr. Edgars Andersons' study History of Latvia 1914-1920. Kalniņš was.a young but active participant in the revolutionary era considered in Andersons' work. The review praises Andersons for the unmasking of numerous myths and his unravelling of the complex political developments during the era of World War I, the Revolution, and the civil war. Magdalēne Rozentāle reviews the XIII volume of Ceļi, a compendium of studies in Latvian linguistics and literature. The periodical first appeared in 1931 in Riga. By 1940 the first nine volumes had appeared. Its publication was resumed in 1963 in Sweden. The reviewer considers this issue a valuable one not only for Latvian scholars but for the whole scholarly community. Prof. H. Biezais (University of Uppsala) welcomes the publication of Arvīds Brastinš Mother Māra which he judges as a pseudo-religious study of the Latvian mythological goddess Māra. Biezais likes the compilation of folk songs that the author has assembled, but he ironizes about Brastiņš' scholarship and his conclusions.
In the field of fiction, the most significant review is one of Tālivaldis Ķiķauka's novel Leonards by O. Krātiņš (Berkeley). Ķiķauka has been considered the most talented of young Latvian authors in emigration, but Krātiņš considers this work a failure in all of its significant aspects, although he does not deny the talent of Ķiķauka as a writer. G. Pļavkalns contributes two reviews Voldemars Avens' (New York) book of poems Holes Pļavkalns considered amateurish. A republished volume of poems by the late-19th century Latvian poet Edvards Veidenbaums he finds disappointing after the first reading, but Veidenbaums' poetry improves, according to the review, upon subsequent perusals. The review section is concluded by G. Irbe's (Stockholm) review of the Norwegian poet's Halldis Moren Vesaas' Early in the Spring. Irbe finds Vesaa's prose work of youthful memories most effective and considers it worthy of being translated.
With this issue a new section devoted to the world of music is added to JG : „Sounds and Echos" . It is to be edited by Imants Sakss (Hamilton, Ont.). In his first column Sakss writes about the performance of Rodion Tscedrin's oratiorio in Moscow, music in Soviet Latvia, the pianist A. Ozoliņš' (Toronto) artistry, and other sundry musical matters.