Crystal Counterpoint

Åke Parmerud

Crystal Counterpoint

  • Åke Parmerud
  • Year of composition: 2009
  • Duration: 12:58
  • Instrumentation: 5.1-channel fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: IMEB
  • ISWC: T9247897070

To Mireille Leblanc with whom I have shared much champagne and joy

I remember how, as a child, I would sneak out of bed and listen to the sounds coming from the bottom floor where my parents used to throw parties every now and then. The tinkling of glasses and the cheerful chattering and laughing made me both envious that I wasn’t allowed there and, after some time, a bit drowsy. More than once I fell asleep on the brim of the staircase, drifting into a dream of tinkles and laughter.

Crystal Counterpoint is made from the sound of those very glasses that once rocked me to sleep. For many years I wanted to make a piece based on the sound of glasses but for various reasons it was not until my parents’ house was sold that I finally got down to record all the glasses in the household (or rather those used for parties and dinners). All sounds in the piece are derived from glasses — most of them from my parents’ house and most of those made from crystal.

Fully aware that making a composition based on glass sounds is far from original — composers such as Jonty Harrison, Trevor Wishart, and Horacio Vaggione, among many others, have already done that — I just couldn’t resist. Hopefully Crystal Counterpoint will add, in a positive way, my signature and temperament to a growing collection of musical contemplations on the universe of glass sounds.


Crystal Counterpoint was realized in May 2009 in the studio Circe of the IMEB in Bourges (France) and premiered on May 29, 2009 during the Synthèse festival (Bourges, France). The piece was commissioned by the IMEB. Crystal Counterpoint was awarded the Prix Ton Bruynèl 2010 (ex æquo) (Amsterdam, Netherlands).


  • May 29, 2009, Synthèse 2009: Électroac 1, Palais Jacques-Cœur, Bourges (Cher, France)