( Debussy) restored a feeling for chords to all musicians. He was as important as Beethoven who revealed to us progressive form, and as Bach who introduced us to the transcendence of coun- terpoint. I always ask myself, could one make a synthesis of these three masters and create a vital contemporary style?
BÉLA BARTÓK, SPEAKING OF DEBUSSY
One of the most original and influential voices of the twentieth century was that of the Hungarian composer, Béla Bartók. Although aware of and influenced by the cur- rent musical trends in Paris and Vienna, he was a follower of neither Stravinskian neoclassicism nor Schoenbergian expressionism. His musical language was his own, formed of indigenous elements, a thorough knowledge of the main-stream of music, past and present, and his own personality.
As with many composers, Bartók's gift for music was discovered when he was still a child. His mother, the widow of the director of a school of agriculture in a pro- vincial Hungarian town, was his first piano teacher. Upon the death of her husband she became a school teacher, moving from town to town until 1893, when mother and son settled in Pressburg and Bartók began serious study of piano and composition. In 1899 he was accepted as a stu- dent at the Royal Conservatory in Budapest, receiving a