Bela Bartok's "Miraculous Mandarin"-Work of Genius or Dreck?

I was always curious about this piece. So I finally borrowed the disc from the library, and popped it in the car player.
Simply awful! Discordant, atonal, and simply unlistenable.
I understand that it was written for a ballet (which recounts the murder of the mandarin), but I didn’t find it enjoyable at all.
What did the critics think, when this was released in 1926?

Well, I can’t answer to what the critics thought of this specific work, but

from the Cincinnati Enquirer, Feb. 26, 1928, taken from the wonderful book ‘The Lexicon of Musical Invective’, collected by Nicholas Slonimsky.

I happen to love Bartok, but our tastes obviously differ…