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Born: 1881, Nagyszentmiklós, HungaryDied: 1945, New York"I cannot conceive of music that expresses absolutely nothing."In his early years, Bartók was heavily influenced by the exotic music of French composer

Claude Debussy, but his passionate and painstaking research into the native music of

Hungary and the surrounding regions was to change his own music profoundly. The

element of rhythm pervades his later works, which combine startling harmonies and

vivid orchestral colors with an intensity that makes them immediately identifiableFurther listening:Duke Bluebeard's Castle (opera, 1911)Christa Ludwig, Walter Berry,London Symphony, István Kertész (Decca)Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta (1936)Los Angeles Philharmonic,Esa-Pekka Salonen (Sony Classical)02/07