Audio Selections

I. 1993. gada 22. jūnijā, Rīgas radio stacijā, Gunars lasa dzeju, “Mājnieks” – ar ievadu

On June 22, 1993, Gunars reads his poem, “Mājnieks” (“Back home”), recorded at Riga Radio (with spoken intro)

I. Alter Ego (for large orchestra) – based on Gunars’ poem “Pēc ērģeļkoncerta” (“After the organ concert”)

Composed by Dimitris Maronidis; commissioned by the State Orchestra of Athens, Greece, performed Jan. 2012; director: Michalis Economou

Alter Ego (Dimitris Maronidis)

Manī ir ši katedrāle.
Manī ir vesela debesu valstība.
Manī ir šis pasaules iesākums un gals.
Un tad vēl Tu.

This is my setting of my father’s poem, “Bērēs (“At the Funeral”). The performance took place in Dec. 2009, at the Cell in NYC, at the invitation of the Center for Contemporary Opera. Performed together with: Bill Schimmel, accordion; Machiko Ozawa and Marc Levine, violins; Leo Grinhauz, cello.

Bērēs (text: Gunars Saliņš; music: Laila Salins)

At the funeral

At the funeral we couldn’t be
bothered to treasure
mere trifles and farewells,
but only death’s pleasures.

We kicked over tables,
then drank great mugs of beer
and fell into the arms of
naked souls without fear.

Eat of me, drink of me,
you never will have all of me
I’ll ravish this night in song, in love,
and let it be forgotten…

Musicians no longer play on strings,
they play on windows, ledges, floorboards, bowls,
on dripping candles, shins and breasts,
play on naked souls.

eat of me,
drink of me…

At dawn our eyes were awakend threefold
by the blue, the green and the crimson sun
as if well rested in their graves,
bones put on some flesh to wear
souls shivered through the shoots of their hair.

(trans. by Laila Salins)

Within me this cathedral.
Within me an entire kingdom of heaven.
Within me the beginning and end of this world.
And then you.

I set my dad’s poem, “Atraktais” (“Unearthed”) for a vocal quartet (of myself), with some percussion effects and other-worldly breathing from Bill Schimmel’s accordion…

Unearthed (Gunars Saliņš-Laila Salins)


So this is what my
resurrection looks like —
no eye in the forehead,
no tongue in cheek?

These bones are all ears —
does the earth still resound?
help me out:

play on these hips and
shins of mine
play the clouds
play the sunshine

a last call-and-response between
high heaven and
this voice that is now
but earth and darkness.

And, before the brightness
turns my bones to dust,
let’s have a reprise
of the eyes and the lips —

ever-rejoicing over the stone
eyes, lips and bone.

(trans. by Laila Salins)