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Sharing releases, present and past, to brighten your day. WXXI Classical has its eyes and ears on the latest releases from classical artists working today. When we come across a story or a release we think you might enjoy, we’ll be sharing it with you on CD Spotlight. You’ll learn more about the artists online at WXXI Classical, and you’ll hear selections from these artists on FM 91.5. CD Spotlight shares new releases by artists that you’ll want to know and some by great artists and ensembles that deserve to be in the spotlight again.

CD Spotlight: Arctic by Eldbjørg Hemsing

The cover of Arctic by Eldbjorg Hemsing
The cover of Arctic by Eldbjorg Hemsing

Eldbjørg Hemsing grew up in small Norwegian town, just 62 miles south of the Arctic circle. Her father was a park ranger, her mother was a violinist; these things left a deep and lasting impression on Hemsing, who brings her violin and deep love for the frozen world of her childhood to her new CD, Arctic. This is a musical exploration of that fragile ecosystem, now endangered by climate change.

Says Hemsing, “When I first visited the Arctic, I had this majestic feeling I cannot quite explain. I felt a magnetic belonging to nature. I felt so small in this vast landscape and realized that I am just a tiny element in the grand cycles of nature and there’s nothing I can do about it. Since then, I have been drawn to this fascinating region.”

Arctic is her love letter to this vast and wild territory, as well as an expression of her concern for its increasingly imperiled existence. The CD opens with Jacob Shea’s “Arctic Suite,” which begins with the movement “Frozen World,” and ends with the warning “Sea Ice Melting.” After that, there’s a series of shorter works that draw from film music, neo-classical works, and romantic-era composers, concluding with Grieg’s “Last Spring”—one final word of caution before the last notes fade away. But it is a warning that is gently delivered as the CD immerses you in a sauna of sound while violinist Hemsing leans into each piece with a gentle authority. The alarm has been sounded. Will we hear it?

A Strong Memorial baby and Greece Arcadia grad, Julia Figueras was the Music Director and mid-day host for WXXI Classical until June 30, 2023 when she retired after more than 26 years of service. She also hosted the award-winning monthly interview/performance show, Backstage Pass.