When János Kárpáti contributed a survey of the younger Hungarian composers to the Spring 1969 issue of TEMPO, it was natural for him to include a paragraph on György Kurtág, even though Kurtág was then 43 and a composer with more than 20 years' working experience. His history at that time was curious. Born in 1926 in Lugoj, a Romanian town acquired from Hungary in the partition following the 1914–18 war, he had moved in 1946 to Budapest, where he submitted to an extended period of study with Sándor Veress and (after Veress's defection in 1949) Ferenc Farkas. According to György Króo's model entry on Kurtág in the New Grove, he gained his composition diploma only in 1955. But throughout this period he was actively composing, and although no definitive or accurate list of these early works is available it appears that they were numerous and, within the conventions of the day, expert. Some of them were published. With the end of the Rákosi era, and in the freer atmosphere which followed the autumn rising of 1956, Kurtág was able to travel to Paris to renew his studies. There he worked with Marianne Stein as well as attending classes of Messiaen and Milhaud. He returned to Budapest in 1958 artistically resurrected, as he himself acknowledged when he labelled the string quartet he completed in 1959 his opusi. But from now on composition, though rescued from unhappy limitations, was to be a laborious and often discouraging business. At the time of Kárpáti's survey Kurtág had finished only seven works, of which the most recent had taken him more than five-and-a-half years to write. Not one of these works had been publicly played in Britain.