Abrahamsen is considered to have been part of a trend called the "New Simplicity", which arose in the mid-1960s as a reaction against the complexity and perceived aridity of the Central European avant-garde. Abrahamsen’s first works conformed to the tenets of this movement, which was a Danish reaction against the complexity emanating from central Europe, particularly the circle around the Darmstadt School. For Abrahamsen this meant adopting an almost naive simplicity of expression, as in his orchestral piece Skum ("Foam", 1970). His style soon altered and developed, at first through a personal dialogue with Romanticism (audible in works such as the orchestral Nacht und Trompete (1984)), and later—after a hiatus of around a decade in which he composed little and released nothing—into something entirely personal, combining a modernist stringency and economy into a larger individual musical universe. Notable works since his return to composition include a piano concerto written for his wife Anne-Marie Abildskov, and the extended chamber work Schnee, where the paring-down of material appears to reach a new extreme.