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Karl Aage Rasmussen (b. December 13, 1947) is a Danish composer, writer and organizer.
Concepts such as ‘music about music’ or ‘music on music’ are keys to his works from the 70s, as he often used pre-existing musical material in new connections and for new purposes, not as collage or quotation, but in a densely woven montage of ideoms from widely different languages of music. Montage technique also characterizes Rasmussen’s later music, but the non-directional expression was replaced by an increased interest in form and development. His musico-dramatic works are among the first expressions of this interest, which was later continued in works such as ‘A Symphony in Time’ and the string quartets ‘Solos and Shadows’ and ‘Surrounded by Scales’.
With the chamber symphony ’Movements on a Moving Line’ his music assumes the character of a labyrinthine ’weaving together’ of the same music in different tempi, and together with new ideas about the experience of time and of tempo (partly related to so-called fractal mathematics) this way of thinking has dominated his music since then. In recent years psychological and dramatic dimensions have emerged, notably in a violin concerto, in ’Scherzo with Bells’ and ’Webs in a stolen Dream’.
Rasmussen is a prolific writer of essays, so far collected in three volumes. His books on Glenn Gould, Robert Schumann and Sviatoslav Richter have reached a wide audience. Most recently he completed the vast ’Music in the 20th Century - a narrative’. Lately he has also been engaged in several large projects centered around FranzFranz Schubert: The completion of Schubert's unfinished opera ’Sakontala’, the reconstruction of what might be Schubert's ’Gastein’ symphony and an orchestral vcrsion of Schubert's melodrama ’Der Taucher’ commissioned by the Danish singer Bo Skovhus.
His music has been perfomed in more than 30 countries. In 1991 he received the Carl Nielsen-Prize and in 1997 the Wilhelm Hansen Composer Prize.