Ödön Rácz is a fourth generation contrabassist. Great grandfather and grandfather played in ensembles, his father in an orchestra. The son, born in Budapest in 1981, also chose the same path. He has been a member of Vienna’s State Opera orchestra since 2004 and as such, the successor to his prominent teacher Alois Posch. Rácz studied the orchestral literature with him and Posch is still today his most important role model as an orchestra musician. His idol as a solo musician is also a former Vienna Philharmonic member Ludwig Streicher, whose soloist tracks Rácz follows on this recording. For Streicher, the most prominent contrabassist of his time, the concerti from Vanhal, Dittersdorf and Bottesini were also his declared favourites.
This excellent first volume in what promises to be a two-disc collection of Poulenc's complete chamber music offers performances that compare favorably with the best available. All of the musicians are superb, but several deserve special mention. Alexandre Tharaud plays Poulenc's piano parts with great flair, wit, and a true feeling for the music's manic shifts from raucous high spirits to nostalgia and melancholy. Since all of these works feature the piano, the importance of his contribution can't be overestimated.