The String Quartet No. 2, begun in 1915 and completed two years later, is one of Béla Bartók’s breakthrough works. His earliest compositions—beautiful in their own right—reflect how much the composer had absorbed from the music of Richard Strauss. Debussy was his next great influence, as evident in Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 1 (1907–08), the String Quartet No. 1 (1909), Two Pictures (1910), and Bluebeard’s Castle (1911). After Bluebeard, Bartók, for the most part, put composing on hold and instead spent a few years collecting folk music.