On this new CD, recorded with a nylon-string guitar, the Vienna-based American guitarist concentrates primarily on his own music. A word of caution: strictly classically oriented guitar gourmets should not expect this disc to treat them to concert-hall haute cuisine. That is not what Barber, who is primarily known as a jazz musician, is interested in offering. Instead he presents his own pieces, whose grooving rhythms, harmonic richness and melodic invention would not be out of place in the guitar repertoire, for example on concert programs alongside music by Villa-Lobos or Brouwer. Here the composer himself proves this possible, including Villa-Lobos’ eighth etude and Brouwer’s “Preludio Epigramatico #4” on the recording, whereby his unconventional interpretations are thoroughly convincing in this setting. All the same, one should remember that it is only in his own work that he is really at home, and that his unclassical sound would rule out a purely classical production. For fingerstyle guitar fans and classical enthusiasts with open ears, this composer offers plenty of listening enjoyment, often reaching appreciable musical depths. Thus the CD deserves more than a cursory hearing, and it demonstrates once again that the guitar, like hardly any other instrument, is in a position to bring musical worlds together in creative coexistence – and that is worthy of esteem.
Harald Wittig, AKUSTIK GITARRE