I should draw the distinction (and I think, Jeffrey, you would be apt to agree . . . I think it's an accident of phrasing here) that the judgement of barren may fall upon a branch of music from that era, but that there is music from that time which will endure.
Well, I did say "much", and in another post I tried to be clear that my not-liking is focused on the sort of compositions associated with serialism, Darmstadt, and that sort of approach to music (in a general way) --and even then, there are pockets I actually like (Ligeti's chamber music and solo piano works, Carter's string quartets. But Shostakovich, after all, deserves the appellation of modern/contemporary as much as Stockhausen. His last works, like SQ 15, were written less than forty years ago; he died the year I graduated high school.
And I picked on the date 1980 because I think in the last few decades there's been a positive development, in that what is good in serialism/Darmstadt/etc. has been taken up and worked sort of in tandem with more tonal oriented methods--the excesses tamed and the sometimes cultish approach (in which some composers thought that the public liking their work was a bad thing) tossed aside. I gave (not quite random, but chosen because it's a recent listening experience) Corigliano's Symphony No. 1 a first listen the other day, and found it to be an outstanding work--but it couldn't really have been written without the lessons learned from Boulez and company.
Which is of course a long winded way of saying, you're right!