New Classical Tracks®

Eldbjørg Hemsing shares a musical journey through the Arctic

Eldbjørg Hemsing is one of the leading young violinists of today.Gregor Hohenberg

New Classical Tracks - Eldbjørg Hemsing (Extended)


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February 15, 2023

Eldbjørg Hemsing — Arctic (Sony Classical)

New Classical Tracks - Eldbjørg Hemsing

“It's hard to describe with words what the Arctic is like, and that's one of the reasons I wanted to create this musical journey through the region,” Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing said. “I try to give an audio/visual experience with images when people listen to it.”

Hemsing grew up about 60 miles from the Arctic Circle. In her new recording, Arctic, she offers a glimpse of its fragile beauty through the music of contemporary and traditional composers.

I come from a small village in the middle of nowhere. Six hundred people live in that area of wilderness, which is just beneath a big mountain chain. I grew up with my mom playing the violin,” she says. “My father was working in nature. So my upbringing was very much music and nature. That's the main inspiration for this album.”

Many of the pieces on this album are trying to capture the beauty of the Arctic.

“There are difficulties in the North regarding ice melting. The environment is changing. It's easy to lose hope and feel depressed. I wanted to try with this project to come from another angle and show the life and beauty that we need to preserve.”

Could you walk us through Jacob Shea’s Arctic Suite?

“In the Arctic, it's important to try to show all the different sides. That's the musical journey in the piece. It starts with a frozen world. Everything's very quiet, harsh and frozen. But then as the sun returns, which happens around January, you can see life return to this region.

“Slowly but surely, it happens. There's inspiration from the aurora borealis, giving a musical expression to the polar regions. With this piece, you can get a sense of a whole year in the Arctic Circle.”

Does he also sing on that piece?

Yes. He wasn't supposed to. But when we were preparing the piece, he had so much power while singing. I felt strongly we needed this in the recording because it's raw and real.”

Why did you include Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Whispering?

I was thinking about the sound you get when you hear the winds howling up in the mountains. It carries so much meaning and expression, but it's quiet and round when it moves. It's almost like water in that sense.”

Could you tell us about Henning Sommerro’s Vårsøg?

“This is a piece I grew up with. It's well known in Norway. The piece was made over a poem written in 1945, just as the world was starting to become normal again after the Second World War. The poem talks about hope for peace and a new start.”

To hear the rest of my conversation, click on the extended interview above, or download the extended podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.


Eldbjørg Hemsing Arctic (Sony Store)

Eldbjørg Hemsing Arctic (Amazon)

Eldbjørg Hemsing (official site)