Cook mentions in his book that there is not a lot of music being written for young / amateur performers. This is true. Very few composers write pieces for amateur, or if they do they don’t seem to put much effort in to it, because they see it as a “lower class” of music when in fact it shouldn’t matter how difficult your piece, or at least it should not effect the amount of effort put forth on a work. On some level one might say in more difficult music the work is trying to state a more abstract or deeper concept than that of simpler music. I do not believe this to be true; needless to say, there are many significant works, which portray something very meaningful. I my opinion there simplicity can do quite a lot for a piece of music.
Cook also mentions the complete lack of regard by composers for the audience and in some cases even the performers. This speaks to the progressing difficulty of “new music”. If composers are not thinking about such things then pieces, I would think, would be more difficult, when at times the only this making a piece difficult is the awful key. (Assuming there is one.) There is however, one other factor: the fact that if a composer writes a piece that is too easy, he/she may only be able to get it preformed by amateur groups, which there is nothing wrong with, of coarse. However, they may not be satisfied with the performance, because no matter how good the ensemble is, nothing compares to a professional or college ensemble. Elliot Carter, early in his career, wrote a piece that has only, after many years, and many other pieces, been performed by anything other than amateur ensembles, which is not what he had originally intended. In fact he was once asked about the piece in an interview, to which he responded that he had, after that piece learned not to write music that was “too easy”, and from Carter’s later works we know that he did not forget.
Regardless of this fact composers were in the twentieth century, and still are, push to write “academic music”. The result in some cases has been pieces consisting only of theory and not of music or artistic thought; Pieces that may say something about music but, have no larger purpose, which is so important to a work of art. It connects the audience, not to mention the performers, with the music (thereby “making your point”).