CD Spotlight: Arctic by Eldbjørg 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?