Crystal Counterpoint

Åke Parmerud

Crystal Counterpoint has been performed in Bourges, Brussels, Cologne, Lille, Montréal, Morelia, Nîmes, São Paulo, Seia and Sheffield…

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, The Netherlands).


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



Crystal Counterpoint (2009), 12:58
5.1-channel fixed medium



Date Work Program
April 29, 2016 Åke Parmerud, Crystal Counterpoint (2009), 12:58 Daniel Blumin: Tar Mind / WFMU 91.1 FM (USA)
August 8, 2016 Åke Parmerud, Crystal Counterpoint (2009), 12:58 Acoustic Frontiers / CKCU 93.1 FM (Canada)
November 20, 2016 Åke Parmerud, Crystal Counterpoint (2009), 12:58 Avaruusromua / Yle Radio 1 (Finland)
November 30, 2017 Åke Parmerud, Crystal Counterpoint (2009), 12:58 Foldover / WOBC 91.5 FM (USA)
April 14, 2020 Åke Parmerud, Crystal Counterpoint (2009), 12:58 Radio Horizon 93.9 (South Africa)