New Workbook about the cantata “God, Your Earth is Burning”

To commemorate the 150th Song and Dance Festival, the Latvian Occupation Museum has spotlighted the cantata "Dievs, Tava zeme deg" (God, Your Land is Burning). Created by poet Andrejs Eglītis and composer Lūcija Garūta during World War II, this poignant work encapsulates Latvia's wartime spirit. Premiered in 1944, it faced suppression during Soviet occupation but was later revived, standing today as a testament to Latvia's enduring cultural and historical resilience.

In the mood for the holidays In anticipation of the 150th anniversary of the Song and Dance Festival, marking 80 years since the creation of the cantata “Dievs, Tava zeme deg”, the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia has published an informative publication – a booklet – “”Dievs, Tava zeme deg”” by poet Andrejs Eglītis and composer Lūcija Garūta .

In the center of the contents of the directory are Lūcija Garūta and Andrejs Eglītis, as well as the performers of the Cantata: Teodora Reiter’s Choir, soloists Mariss Vētra and Ādolfs Kaktiņš, recalling their life course and artistic contribution. In the course of the research, the memorial places of these and other persons in Latvia and beyond have been identified.

On March 15, 1944, in the crowded Riga Old St. Cantata “God, Your land is burning!” in the Gertrude church. premiered by the Reiter Choir, singers Ādolfs Kaktiņš, Mariss Vētra; at the organ, replacing the ill Alfrēds Kalniņš, – the author herself. Cantata “God, Your land is on fire!” was created thanks to the contest announced by the pastor of Kuldīga Evangelical Lutheran Church Oskars Sakārnis for the text and music of the cantata “Latvian prayer to God” in order to strengthen the nation and reveal its experiences during the harsh Second World War. Two works by A. Eglītis were recognized as the best, which, when combined, inspired L. Garūta to create the music for the cantata. The premiere of the cantata took place on March 15, 1944 in Riga’s Old St. Gertrude’s Church. At the beginning of the Second Soviet occupation, the performance of the cantata was forbidden and the recordings were destroyed, but in 1982 it was restored by the composer Longins Apkalns, and it has been performed in Sweden and Germany. In Latvia, the cantata marked the winds of the Third Revival and “Prayer” – the middle part of the cantata – became the culmination of the 1990 General Latvian Song Festival concert. In 2018 , “Prayer” from the cantata was performed again at the closing concert of the Song and Dance Festival and in 2023 at the Songs and Dances Festival, in the choirs’ grand concert “Tīrums. The Song Path”. The cantata is included in the cultural canon of Latvia.

The publication was made within the framework of the Latvian Occupation Museum Memorials project “20th century political history in memorials”. Authors of the thematic notebook: Rihards Pētersons, Kristīne Čakstiņa and artist Līga Dubrovska. In 2021, the Latvian Occupation Museum has published the first edition about Kurt Fridrihsson and the “French group” in a series of thematic notebooks in cooperation with the “Jāņas sēta” map publishing house.

This and other editions of the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia can be purchased at the museum, Latviešu strēnieku laukuma 1 and “Stūra māja” at Brīvības street 61.