Clifford Borg Quotes
"Borg`s music is unashamedly chill-out, and very good chill-out at that"

Alex Vella Gregory
Music Critic - Times of Malta - 2009

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FROM DRIFTED TO ORIGIN - 2008

From Drifted to Origin Review by Joseph Camilleri (Writer - Times ofMalta)

My first encounter with the music of pianist-composer Clifford Borg happened in 2003, when I attended “Anticipation” - a concert he had given at the Manoel Theatre’s Sala Isouard featuring several of his own compositions.  Then, I had been pleasantly surprised by Clifford Borg’s piano miniatures, with their attractive blend of traditional “classical” techniques and jazz/pop sensibilities. It is true that the style of these pieces owes much to the music of such well-known crossover artists such as Ludovico Einaudi and Yann Tiersen.  But this was no mere marketing strategy, some calculated attempt to win over fans from different musical fields.  On the contrary, what is striking in this music is its honesty.  Having tasted different, contrasting types of music, Clifford Borg has managed to weld these experiences in a style which is varied in its points of reference but which is at the same time simple, tuneful and entertaining.

 Clifford Borg’s new solo piano CD “Origin” is in many ways a calling-card, a snapshot of his development as composer and performer over the last years.  It takes as its starting-point the “Anticipation” project.  Indeed, a number of the pieces formed the backbone of the programme of that 2003 concert.  Emergence, the opening track, is a case in point.  Built on melancholic arpeggiated figures, it provides a good indication of Borg’s style and is probably one of the best pieces on the cd.  Afrindian Summer, a reincarnation of the earlier “Indian Summer” is enlivened by some unexpected rhythms.  Expectations with its striking minimalistic opening is another old friend.

 But there are several newer works as well, which Clifford Borg has presumably composed and honed over a number of performances.  The language is still the same, lyrical, melodious and predominantly laid-back.  In some pieces, such as Dasvedania and Beauty one seems to detect a greater influence of popular music – with their clearly discernible, vocal tunes they are not unlike a pop-song without words.   One of the highlights of the new material is the penultimate track Complete.  A sinuous theme unweaves over a falling ground-bass whilst gentle cluster chords colour the harmonies.  The piece grows in intensity until its sudden ending, an effective Nyman-esque touch. 

Many pieces have intriguing titles which hint at some hidden meaning.  The listener wonders at the identity of the subject of Biography from a window sill, which draws from the performer a soaring melody.  Could it be ‘Ellen’, whose “Colours” paint one of the happier of the compositions on this CD?

The sound quality of this recording, made in aBrusselsstudio on a Steinway D, is certainly an asset, beautifully ringing out the body of the instrument’s timbre.

 This is a generously filled CD ideal for winding down and chilling out at the end of the day, an assortment of tuneful piano works which is possibly best enjoyed as if it were a musical chocolate box to dip into.  The final track Closed Chapter suggests that Clifford Borg will be seeking new performing/composing pastures.  Hopefully, he will build on what he has achieved so far and have the courage to experiment further.

 

 

 

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