In 1950, Morton Feldman was twenty-four years old and facing a crisis. He had met John Cage in January, and the friendship struck between the two composers marked the beginning of what was to become known, somewhat misleadingly, as the New York School. But despite the importance he later ascribed to the "permissions" he received from Cage-the encouragement to trust his musical instincts-the immediate effect of the friendship seems to have led Feldman not to the flowering of a new musical style but into a wall. For the better part of a year his pen was silent.