In 2019, Dr Aleksandra Hałat initiated a project within research teams of the Faculty of Arts and Educational Science at the University of Silesia, whose aim was the premiere recording of archival compositions, as well as presentation of unknown and unperformed works by Karol Rathaus (1895–1954), one of the most outstanding Polish emigration composers. The pianist invited the following artists to cooperate: Piotr Lato, Marcin Hałat and Marcin Mączyński. The recordings of unknown piano trios by Karol Rathaus were made at the Karol Szymanowski State General Secondary Music School in Katowice (December 2019) and Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio of Polish Radio in Warsaw (July 2020).
The result of the project is the album entitled Karol Rathaus – Piano Trios, released by prestigious record company DUX, which contains the world premiere recordings of the following Karol Rathaus’ chamber pieces: Trio op. 53 for clarinet, violin and piano (1943), and Trio Serenade op. 69 for violin, cello and piano (1953). The performance of trios was based on the manuscript, because none of the pieces had been released before, and both compositions are stored in Karol Rathaus Papers in Queens College City at the University of New York.
Karol Rathaus – Piano Trios has its premiere on 21 January 2021.
“Reading a manuscript is, metaphorically speaking, touching the reality of the composer himself, his thoughts, emotions and events from the world that surrounded him, and from the world that he missed, which is still possible to recreate thanks to interpretations of his forgotten works. The guiding principle behind the whole process of facing Karol Rathaus’ piano trios, starting from reading the manuscripts, and ending with recording the pieces, is particularly the willingness to reach the composer’s purpose and read his intentions. The main idea that we had was to present the characteristic language of the artist to the audience, and to develop an individual artistic creation in the piano trio. “The intimate meeting with Karol Rathaus’ top quality art of composing allowed us, performers, to get to know him as a person – a brilliant, forgotten artist, an emigrant whose works combine Polish, European and American elements”, wrote Dr Aleksandra Hałat.
The album has the following media patrons: „Ruch Muzyczny”, „Presto”, „Przegląd”, Polskie Centrum Informacji Muzycznej POLMIC, LongPlay, TVP Kultura and Exil Arte Center for Banned Music.
An additional advantage of the project is the consent that Dr Aleksandra Hałat obtained from the composer’s granddaughter for the use of the composer’s name in the band name – Karol Rathaus Ensemble, for the purpose of conducting artistic and scientific activities in order to promote his works.