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L to R: Natalia Bibik-Chabukiana, Thaddeus Moden and Leah Roseman

Concert Review: Roseman, Modren, and Bibik-Chabukiana play Schubert and Brahms in the MacKay Concert Series

By Alex Binkley on November 11, 2019

aliaMacKay concert leaves one wondering what else Franz Schubert might have composed

Listening to Leah Roseman and Natalia Bibik-Chabukiana performing Franz Schubert’s Fantasy as part of the MacKay United Church Chamber Music Series on November 2nd, it was hard not to wonder what else Schubert might have composed if he hadn’t died so young.

Schubert was 31 in 1828 when typhoid fever caused by drinking contaminated water claimed him. It was a tragic and untimely end to such a brilliant composer. His Fantasy for violin and piano was completed earlier in that year and more compositions in that vein must have been resonating in his mind. You could easily imagine him having fun creating the compositions as they slowed or sped up and went off in different musical directions.

While Roseman, a member of the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Artistic Director of the MacKay concert series, has wanted to play this composition for years, she had found it hard to team up with a pianist able to accompany her. Bibik-Chabukiana was just the person and she showed her considerable keyboard skills. Hopefully there will be other occasions for them to perform it together.

Bibik-Chabukiana then teamed up with cellist Thaddeus Morden to play five Robert Schumann renderings of German folk style music. Again, one was admiring the playing but also the music they were working with.

Then Roseman joined them again to play Johannes Brahms’s compositions for their three instruments, concluding the concert, which earned a rousing standing ovation from the crowd. The Brahms pieces were first composed in 1853, when he was 20, and then revised 46 years later into the music we hear today with its mix of light-hearted and captivating melodies.

Bibik-Chabukiani is a Ukrainian born, Russian and Israeli trained pianist who is active in the Ottawa chamber music scene. She has recorded a CD of the compositions by her late father Valentin Bibik.

Ottawa-born Morden has played with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and Thirteen Strings and performs with the NAC Orchestra and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

While the selections of the three composers were different, they were a marvellous combination of musical imagination and the musicians appeared to enjoy playing them as much as the audience did listening to them.

The next concert in the series will be January 26th with music of Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner and Mahler played by Pauline Van der Roest, Carole Portelance and Frédéric Lacroix.