The Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta is a central work not only in Bartók's œuvre, it is also recognized as a key work in the music of the 20th century.
ln spite of the work's monothematic conception, all four movements have their own individual character. The constant return of the fugal theme from the first movement gives an organic unity to a series of complementary moods. The theme appears either in its original form or in inversions, sometimes slow, in a chromatic trepidation, and elsewhere as an expression of pure diatonic dignity and joy. All in all, the work is a masterpiece both of construction and of musical poetry. (Ferenc Bónis, taken from the preface)