Roger Sessions on a problem with modern composers

"I go back always again to what Bloch said: 'In two years you'll be able to do anything you want.' I think this is what craft really is. It's the aim of craft. The danger I see today among some young composers is that they learn to write one piece and keep on essentially writing one piece all their lives. They learn certain clichés and formulas; and if they ever had the independence and the imagination to want to do something else, they couldn't. When I say 'do something else,' I don't mean something less far-out at all; but without a very solid craft, and the self-confidence and assurance it brings, they are helpless. I've known cases of composers that are really quite well known, and not only American, who have found themselves in precisely that kind of dilemma. They felt that their music was becoming cliché-rideen, wedded to certain procédés, as the French would say, and found themselves caught in a trap. It's like a man who wants to write a book in a language that he hasn't fully learned. There are certain things that, when it comes to really fully expressing himself, he can't say."