It is sheer coincidence that Béla Bartók has become the Hungarian composer we all know. After the early death of his father, who had been director of a small school at Nagyszentmiklós (now in Romania), his mother had to look after her two children (Béla had a sister, Elza) all by herself. The family lived in various towns in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy – such as Pressburg (Pozsony for Hungarians, Bratislava for Slovaks). Lying as it does much nearer to Vienna than to Budapest, it would have been logical for the talented young musician to continue his studies at the prestigious music academy of the imperial capital.
That Bartók and his mother opted for Budapest was due to the ...more