A winner of international prizes, worldwide recognition, and a TED performance (with the best testimonials to boot), young Tariq Harb’s well-deserved acclaim complements the virtuosity and freshness with which he is known to perform.
A Guitar Through the Eras – Harb’s first solo record – is an homage to the development of the classical guitar, an album which showcases his versatility vis-a-vis Renaissance favourites (Fantasia No. 7) as well as more modern classical renditions (Usher Waltz). Harb even brings along the movements of Bach’s Lute Suite, a period piece tackled with his own subtle bites of surprises and energetic embellishments.
Even more important than Harb’s repertoire is the excitement with which he plays these famous selections. An excellent disseminator of tone and clarity,Harb’s left hand gives breath to his right. His style is one of an extrovert, asserting his bright and pristine sound where others would forego openness for more simple renditions. Simply listen to the opening bars of Sonata Eroica Op. 150 and immediately fall into the spaces between Harb’s playing, into the clear enunciations of his rests and voicings; or follow the flutters of the Pensamiento Español for a more meandering stroll, the perfect aside for daydreamers of the guitar.
Perhaps my personal favourite on the record is the critical Asturias, a turning point on the album and a fine example of everything Tariq Harb has to give to the classical guitar. Here is where he most obviously flirts with the music, his guitar rising and falling, inciting a swelling of mood rarely ever heard within this Flamenco favourite. No dancer needed – this rendition is wholly danced from Harb’s fingers. Sincerely, it is something to behold.
A guitarist of passion and philosophy, it is impossible to see Tariq exclusively as either artist or academic – indeed, he is both. After moving to Canada from Jordan to pursue his studies, he began to study under some of the most respected names in contemporary guitar; among them, Manuel Barrueco, Patrick Kearney, Remi Boucher, Jason Vieaux, and many others that would excite any classical connoisseur. He has since earned a Masters of Performance degree from McGill University and a Doctorate in the Musical Arts from the University of Toronto.
With an evolving technique, Harb’s young professional skill has shone brightly, and we can only expect something phenomenal as it keeps moving. Though his first album looks back at the history of the guitar, we cannot help but be excited as we await the future of Tariq Harb.