2007 / Clifford Borg
Review by Kathy Parsons
Origin is the second solo piano album by Clifford Borg and was released in 2006. The sixteen original compositions reflect a wide variety of moods and musical styles and all are expressed with passion and honesty. Born into a musical family, Borg started taking piano lessons in his native Malta at the age of five. Within the first year, he joined his two sisters in his father’s band, entertaining patrons at their family’s restaurant. Very favorably received, the group named themselves The Islanders and started performing regularly at various Maltese hotels and clubs. At the age of ten, Borg was invited to give a live solo performance on Malta’s national television station and returned a year later with The Islanders. He started composing music early, earning awards and diplomas along the way. Borg released his first album, Drifted, in 2000 and has performed in concerts over much of Europe and Egypt. Influenced by other classical cross-over artists such as Ludovico Einaudi, Yann Tiersen and Michael Nyman, Borg’s music expresses strength, passion, grace, tenderness and whatever else he wants to communicate in a style that is both beautiful and accessible. It’s about time Clifford Borg found a bigger audience in the US!
Origin begins with “Emergence,” a powerful and haunting piece that won the Best Music for Digital Film award at the Swan Lake Moving Image and Movie Awards in 2010 and was included in a compilation album called Acoustic Visions. Dark and very dramatic, it’s one of those pieces that stays with you long after the music stops. “Afrindian Summer” is much lighter and dreamier with a gentle melody and graceful movement. From the title, one might expect “Simplicity” to be spare and uncomplicated, but one would be mistaken! The piece has a somewhat agitated feeling and is anything but simple. I really like “All in Black and White,” with its flowing broken chords and poignant melody - very emotional and very expressive. “Biography From a Window Sill” is certainly a unique title and this piece goes right to the heart. It must have been a chilly, gray day for the window sill and probably for the composer as well! “Worth Waiting?” is another favorite and sounds like someone pouring his heart out at the piano in the middle of the night, possibly by candlelight, trying to find the answer to a major life crossroad. “Who Is Mr. Swing” is pure light-hearted fun with a catchy rhythm and playful melody. “Secret Energy” is also a favorite. Very powerful emotions pour out of the rolling broken chords and deeply affecting melody. “Ellen’s Colours” is dedicated to a friend who passed away. There is a sadness running through the melody, but there is also a feeling of celebrating a life and of hope - a very beautiful favorite. I also love “Complete,” with its melancholy melody and intense emotional expression. A poem in the liner notes has the same title and explains the reasons for the piece. “Closed Chapter” is a stirring, if somewhat mournful, closing played from the heart and touching the heart of the listener with its honesty and truth.
Origin is a deeply affecting collection of original piano solos and I hope Clifford Borg will have some new music for us soon! The album is available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. Very highly recommended!
February 11, 2017