Home 9 Composers 9 ROBERT RIVAL

Robert Rival’s music for orchestra, chamber ensemble and voice has been performed widely in Canada and abroad, including at Carnegie Hall, by leading orchestras, musicians, ensembles and choirs. Critics have described his work, written in a contemporary extended tonal style and inspired by the Canadian wilderness, literature, and classical and romantic musical forms, as “stirring and dramatic”, “spectacular”, “clever and evocative”, “well crafted”, “immediately appealing”, “melodic and accessible”, “memorable” and “sophisticated”. Former Resident Composer of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Rival holds a doctorate from the University of Toronto and teaches at the University of Ottawa. please visit

Midnight Sea

by Robert C. Rival

TTBB a cappella – CP 2365 – duration 6:25

In 1874, Charles M. Scammon, captain of the U.S. Revenue Marine, published Marine Mammals of the North-Western Coast of North America, a thick tome documenting his experience as a whaler on the American west coast

Whaling has since come to be regarded, rightfully, as cruel and unsavoury. Yet Scammon’s curiosity was such that he made many valuable observations of scientific value, his contributions recognized by marine biologists today. In the chapter on the Pacific white-sided dolphin (which frequents the B.C. coast), Scammon describes a stunning encounter on the open sea between his ship and a large group of dolphins.

The captain’s words speak simply and eloquently, tracing an attractive musical arc, like a wave that surges excitedly, then recedes.

Composed in 2020, Midnight Sea was a finalist in Vancouver’s Chor Leoni’s C/4 Canadian Choral Composition Competition (2020).