One of the myths that was perpetuated around the time that the term "classical music" was coined was the idea that, being more sophisticated and all, classical music required more concentration, more thought, more effort to listen to. And that all that activity was virtuous, somehow. And still, in symphony concerts, there are often pre-concert talks that explain how to listen to things that, given the audience, must surely be things that are quite familiar to it.
My take on it is that the more work the composer does, the less work the listener has to do. It's easy! Someone else has done all the work; you can just sit back and take it all in (or part of it in, maybe) and feel really sophisticated for being such a superior being as to like classical music.
Part of the idea in the fifties--and arguably some few decades before that, even--was that of re-apportioning responsibility more equally. Sure, the composer still has work to do; the performers still have work to do; but now the listeners have even more work to do than ever before. It's no longer about masterpieces and master performances--at least for some people--it's now more about art and beauty and what the listener/observer brings to the situation.
Simply put, there is more work for each listener to do with new music, especially work of the indeterminate and improvisatory kinds. You no longer have some god-like being presenting you with a finished masterpiece which, after a few minutes of pre-concert lecture, you are only expected to respond to with the appropriate religiosity. O altitudo!! You now are expected, or perhaps just invited (!), to participate. No longer a mere consumer, guided by wise music pundits, giving easy worship to pieces from the past that no longer have the power they once had to shock and bewilder and infuriate. Now a co-creator, an active participant in the situation, invested and responsible.
Hah! We all know how that one turned out. Rejected, soundly (pun intended), by one and all. Or almost all.
There are some of us who are content to like what we like without worrying about whether any mavens, self-proclaimed or otherwise, will be granting us the accolade of "good taste" to our aesthetic endeavors. El principal enemigo de la creatividad es el buen gusto. And the guy who said that was still one of the old guard, busily churning out masterpiece after masterpiece. Still. True words. Or perhaps this, from a musician this time: "Down with masterpieces; up with art."
And now, some Busratch for me. That seems appropriate.