All new music, etc.

All new music is not created equal.  There are the pieces that are recognizable, pieces that are easy for audiences to digest, pieces that come with their own legends.  I was thinking about the variability the other day as I spoke to a class about John Cage’s 4’33”.  Everyone knows it…or thinks they do.   So, how do we talk about new music when what looms large in the public’s collective consciousness is a piece that, to all conventional appearances, is a piece that contained none at all?