List of Works
Audio Samples

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book on music, gesture & rhetoric
Traces of a Silent Landscape
Sonata "Muskoka"
Global tapestry - Ananta duo
Sonata "Muskoka" for clarinet & piano (Lake movement). Ananta Duo: "Global Tapestry" (2018). Purchase. Spotify.

Windermere String Quartet: Inner Landscapes
Traces of a Silent Landscape. Windermere String Quartet: "Inner Landscapes" (2016). Purchase. iTunes. Spotify. Naxos Music Library.


Lullaby. Edmonton Symphony Orchestra: "A Concert for New York" (2013). 2014 Western Canadian Music Awards nominee for Classical Recording of the Year. Purchase.


Scherzo "Crème brûlée"

Instrumentation: 1111/1000/str
Duration: 7:00
Year Composed: 2010

Arrangement for chamber orchestra of Scherzo "Crème brûlée" for Nonet.

Audio Samples


Program Notes

Haydn was famous for his musical wit. Mozart revelled in a silly tune. Even Beethoven found time for a good musical joke. None of this undermined their reputations. But somewhere on the journey into the twentieth-century, composers lost the inclination to have fun, perhaps because striking a non-serious pose meant getting marginalized. Look at the fate of poor Poulenc, one of the century's most delightful musical comedians.

What I offer you with this Scherzo (Italian for "joke") is my idea of fun. The piece begins and ends with the same frenetic music. Its spiky theme, introduced by the flute, consists of a handful of notes set against a swirling accompaniment. Other little "bits" flash by like nearby trees viewed from inside a speeding train. Eventually the music collapses from utter exhaustion and a waltz takes over. The tune is familiar because ... well, it's just the Scherzo's aggressive theme now tamed (a device I borrowed from Brahms's Intermezzo, Op. 119, No. 2). In its new garb the melody is extended and embellished until the waltz, too, implodes. Suddenly we are transported to a street corner in a faraway place in a time long ago where a lone musician awkwardly plays a fragment of—the theme.

I originally scored Scherzo for nonet (nine instruments). A listener who heard a reading of this version remarked that the piece made him think of a dessert—tiramisu, to be exact. I like the analogy. But I think it sounds more like crème brûlée: hard and crunchy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside. —R.R.


  • Windsor Symphony Orchestra, cond. Robert Franz.
    :: Apr 14, 2019—The Heritage Auditorium (Windsor, ON)
    :: Apr 13, 2019—Leamington United Mennonite Church (Leamington, ON)
    :: Apr 12, 2019—St. Andrews Church (Chatham, ON)
  • Sep 30 & Oct 1, 2011—Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, cond. William Eddins
    Winspear Centre (Edmonton, AB)
  • Jul 27, 2011—National Academy Orchestra, cond. Philippe Ménard
    Brott Music Festival, Mohawk College McIntyre Theatre (Hamilton, ON)


Score Perusal & Parts Rental

For score perusal and parts rental information, contact Robert Rival.