The story behind Mikołaj Górecki’s “Sanctus Adalbertus” was told in “Gazeta Wyborcza” newspaper by Michał Merczyński, the director of Nostalgia Festival Poznań:
“The story of this composition is very interesting, also in the context of Poznań”, he says. In 1998 the H. Wieniawski Association, which was then under the direction of Michał Merczyński, won a tender for the cultural program of the Polish Pavilion at EXPO 2000 in Hannover. Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek’s Office had already asked Professor Gorecki to compose Sanctus Adalbertus oratory for the exhibition. “I called the Professor. He shouted at me for 40 minutes that since the Prime Minister’s Office made the commission, no one contacted him. I assured him that we are the ones who will be realising the program, and that we wish to continue our cooperation. Finally after six months he he accepted the commission, but added that he will write a cantata, not an oratory. Now this composition is known as “Small Adalbert””, recounts Merczyński. “Small Adalbert” premiered in Hannover as planned.
But the idea of a more elaborate oratory about the Czech bishop did not perish. “Inspired by this successful cooperation with the Professor the matter of a “Big Adalbert” came back again in the context of the 750th anniversary of locatio civitas of Poznań in 2003”, reminisces Merczyński. Górecki accepted the commission, but eventually a year before the celebrations he declined. He said it was for health reasons”, says the director of Nostalgia Festival.
However, that was not how the story of the “big Adalbert” ended. A finished “Sanctus Adalbertus” oratory was found by his son after the composer’s death. It turned out it was already finished in 1997!