Thanks to the help of Sequenza21 readers, I have a list of pivotal works from the 70s. Time to take a crack at the 1980s. Again, these are pieces I think had widespread influence on many composers, even though some of them didn’t have much influence on me personally:

Laurie Anderson: O Superman (1981)
Steve Reich: The Desert Music (1983)
Arvo Part: Te Deum (1984)
Morton Feldman: Piano and String Quartet (1985)
John Adams: Harmonielehre (1985)

Much to my surprise, I’m finding it very difficult to come up with works from the late 1980s that I’m certain belong on this list. Can anyone help? A lot of the pieces I thought could be included turned out to be from the early 90s. Maybe I should give in to the temptation to include the same composer more than once. But in any case, I may be missing a pivotal work from Downtown and from Neo-Complexity land.

And does anyone know just when and how the craze for big, steroidal orchestral works got started? I think I must have missed that chapter.

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