The Sound of the Arctic

A full-length commissioned work – our signature

See dates and tickets

Does the Arctic have its own distinctive sound? In 2013, we challenged one of Norway’s most respected composers to find an answer. This major commissioned work by Lasse Thoresen is now complete and will be performed for the first time in Tromsø during this special concert.

In recent years, Thoresen, who turns 70 in October, has made numerous trips to Svalbard, Finnmark and other parts of Northern Norway to listen, work and gain inspiration to write the orchestral work The Sound of the Arctic (Lyden av Arktis).

The story we tell starts with the feeling of total white-out in the Arctic wilderness. The movements have specific names like Bare hvitt (Only white), Flammehimmel (Flaming sky), Brefront (Glacier front) and Hymne til det urørte (Hymn to the untouched) and Fall, while the sounds of Mother Nature play a central role in the work.

During this Arctic journey, you will hear pietistic psalms, traditional Sami joik, trickling brooks, bird sounds, calving of glaciers, while the work ends with the big fall. Another unique feature is that some of the movements are written for chamber orchestra, some for sinfonietta and some for symphony orchestra, so during the concert, the audience will experience the exchange between the three ensembles.

Lasse Thoresen is a major name on the Norwegian music scene. He has received numerous awards, including the Norwegian Society of Composers’ award for “Composition of the Year” three times: 1981 for Stages in the Internal Dialogue (Stadier i den indre dialog), 1992 for AbUno and 1994 for Carmel Eulogies. Moreover, he won the Critics’ Award for Quadrat in 1987, the Edvard Prize in 2003 and in 2010 he received the Nordic Council Music Prize for his vocal work Opus 42.

This time he has faced an extremely unique challenge – to describe the distinctive Arctic sound through music.

In this context, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to the Norwegian Polar Institute! Leif Magne Helgesen and Kim Holmén sowed a seed and had ideas about how to define the Sound of the Arctic.

The Sound of the Arctic also deals with climate, weather and the role of man in the great and powerful. After several years of work, the time has come for the premiere performance – with all our musicians and Chief Conductor Christian Kluxen on the podium.

In addition to the concerts in Tromsø and Bodø (11 September), the work will be performed as the opening concert of the prestigious Ultima Festival in Oslo on 12 September.