BORG 15 Songs. Landscape
Matti Borg (b1956) has enjoyed a triple career as an operatic baritone, composer and teacher. He graduated from Ib Nørholm’s composition class at the Royal Danish Music Academy in 1983, followed by studies in London with Oliver Knussen. His singing career began in 1987 after studies with Kim Borg and Keld Thaarup in Copenhagen and with Nicolai Gedda in Sweden, where he made his operatic debut, with Norrlands Opera, in 1991.
As a composer, songs and vocal compositions dominate his output, the earliest dating from the early 1980s. On the evidence of the two cycles recorded here – one for two soloists and an octet of flute, clarinet, harp, string quartet and double bass, the other for a cappella chorus – his style is appealingly melodic, harmonically and expressively so Romantic in idiom that the innocent ear might assume its creator to have been born in 1856. If the style is not particularly original or individual, his lyrical gift is winning, the tunes often rather folk-like in atmosphere.
Both sets are exquisitely performed. Soprano Gitta-Maria Sjöberg (the composer’s wife and a fellow pupil of Kim Borg) and baritone Mattias Nilsson make a superbly complementary couple, dividing the 15 songs between them (there are no duets). The Lille MUKO Choir delivers the choral cycle Landscape with skill and finesse. The booklet has many words – all the texts in Danish with English résumés, composer and performer biographies – but not one word about the works themselves. Danacord’s sound is very fine.