On Friday, February 3rd, the renowned Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing will release her latest CD, titled “Arctic”. Consisting of 15 tracks, the album takes the listener on a journey through the vast, beautiful and largely unexplored part of the world that is the Arctic Circle. The CD consists of music from contemporary composers, but also music from composers such as Grieg, Ole Bull and Selim Palmgren.

The interest in the Arctic and nature is something that Hemsing comes by naturally. “I grew up in a very small village in Norway of 600 people. My Mom was a violinist and my Father worked in nature…and to me that is just the world as I knew it; music and nature go hand in hand,” says Hemsing. “The Arctic is such an untouchable, massive force where it doesn’t matter what happens everywhere else in the world in a way because this is the true beating heart of our world.”

The centre piece of the recording is music composed by the American composer Jacob Shea. His “Arctic Suite” consists of six movements that are meant to evoke the sights and sounds of the Arctic. Creating a musical score to accompany nature is nothing new to Shea . He composed music for the very successful BBC documentary Series “Blue Planet,” which is where Hemsing was first exposed to his music. As Hemsing explains, “I thought when telling the story of the Arctic we really needed to have something that would feel like an audio-visual journey…and hopefully this piece gives you a lot of images and it connects with this impression that many people would have of the Arctic.”

There are also pieces on the album that were carefully chosen by Hemsing that reflect the moods and landscapes of the North. There is music by composers Ola Gjeilo, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Frode Fjellheim and also a couple of pieces by Norwegian romantic composers Ole Bull and Edvard Grieg. As the booklet for the CD explains,  “The inclusion of Grieg’s ‘Last Spring’ and Ole Bull’s ‘La Melancolie’ stand for the memory of a resplendent life that still exists today in the arctic but one that might soon vanish beyond recovery if we do not address the climate crisis.”

Hemsing performs on this CD with the first rate musicians of the Arctic Philharmonic. The Norwegian Arctic Philharmonic is a relatively new Orchestra that was founded in 2009. It has become one of Northern Norway’s largest and most active cultural institutions, performing opera and concert productions in various formats each year. Hemsing has performed with the Orchestra many times and has known them for many years. “It felt very obvious when we discussed this project that it had to be with the Arctic Philharmonic…not only because they are fantastic players, but also because they are there ...they are representative of this region.”

If Hemsing wanted to create musical pictures of the Arctic and take listeners on a  journey of the North, then mission accomplished! The entire recording plays as it if is a huge soundtrack for the region. The profound beauty and vastness of the North is made very clear on this recording. Hemsing’s always rich beautiful violin sound floating over the orchestral score performed by the phenomenal musicians of the Arctic Philharmonic.

Take a musical trip to the Arctic courtesy of Elbjørg Hemsing.  You won’t be disappointed!