Åke Parmerud


  • Åke Parmerud
  • Year of composition: 1992-93
  • Duration: 10:35
  • Instrumentation: saxophone quartet and stereo fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: Svenska Rikskonserter, for the Stockholms Saxofonkvartett
  • ISWC: T0000091928

The melodic and harmonic structure of Retur (Return) is based on some transcribed phrases from a saxophone solo by the legendary American musician Charlie Parker (1920-1955). As one composition in a series of pieces concerned with my relation to music historical artefacts — Alias (1990) and Renaissance (1994) are two other examples from the same series — Retur is a kind of musical letter, written on the paper of time and actually adressed to the sender of the original creation (Parker). The title is Swedish for “return” but also bears connotations to the game of tennis as the basic first stroke delivered by the player who will receive the serve.

For me, various forms of art creation as I perceive and contemplate it, functions as a kind of non-aural conversation unbound by time and space, establishing intellectual, sentimental and aeshetic overlappings in the minds of artists. If Charlie Parker had been alive today I would surely have sent him a copy of the piece. Would he have liked it? I am not sure, but then the object of a conversation is not in the first place to agree but rather to listen and possibly exchange ideas, mainly as a token of respect.

Retur was realized in 1992-93 at the composer’s studio for the Stockholm Saxophone Quartet (Stockholms Saxofonkvartett: Sven Westerberg, Jörgen Pettersson, Leif Karlborg, Per Hedlund) who premiered the work on March 23, 1993 at the Stockholm New Music Festival. The work was later performed on June 5, 1993 at the Skinnskatteberg Festival. It was commissioned by Svenska Rikskonserter, the Swedish national concert institute. Retur was first recorded by the Stockholm Saxophone Quartet for the Caprice CD Links (CAP 21517) released in 1997; the recording was realized on September 11, 1995 at the OAL studio in Sollentuna (Sweden) with Anders Hellgren, recording engineer, and Bo Rydberg, recording producer, and mixed at the composer’s studio.