Karl Aage Rasmussen's Etudes And Postludes (1989-90) for Piano solo.
The title suggests two kinds of music: something which is far away, maybe almost out of reach, but which you nevertheless try to embrace; and something close and familiar which you are taking leave of. Thus, in a sense, the pieces form a diary. The Postludes allude to other musics, former music of my own and of others. The Etudes open new doors – they make use of working strategies and mind models that were quite new to me at the time.
Pieces related to Charles Ives, Igor Stravinsky and Friedric Chopin (together with a ragtime and a mournful melody) form the basis for a music pointing backwards – the Postludes. The Etudes are all based on different kinds of multiplication where a few notes or a tiny musical module repeatedly twists back on itself and closes a loop. The general name for this is self-reference, and the Etudes reflect themselves endlessly, the way a mirror mirrors another mirror. The result is that rhythmic and melodic patterns emerge, unpredictably, like gifts from unknown muses.
Etudes and Postludes was commissioned by the late Yvar Mikhashoff, and they are dedicated to his memory and to their first performer Erik Kaltoft. And between lines, also to György Ligeti, the re-discovered and sophisticated master of the classic etude for piano.
The pieces can be played in any number and in any order. It is left to the discretion of the player to group pieces in suites, respecting simple rules of variety.
Karl Aage Rasmussen