oratorio for soprano and baritone soloists, chorus and orchestra
Ps 115:6 (Vulgate); Henryk Górecki (L-P)
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.
ICE Krakow, Krakow
Wioletta Chodowicz, Artur Rucinski / National Polish Radio Orchestra, Polish Radio Choir, Krakow Philharmonic Choir / Jacek Kasprzyk
Sanctus Adalbertus is a successor to Beatus vir (1979), which he wrote in praise of St Stanislaus (Stanislaw in Polish). Górecki had envisioned a cycle of large-scale works on Polish saints, but only these two pieces materialised. Although Bishop Adalbert (Wojciech in Polish) was born in Prague, he moved north to convert pagans in what is now Poland. He was killed there in 997, when he was 31, was canonised three years later and became Poland's first patron saint.
Górecki drafted his score for the millennial commemorations of Adalbert's martyrdom, but the project fell through (in the event, he did not write the fourth movement until 1998). But when another opportunity arose, he used much of the third movement 'Hymnus' for the final joyful section of Salve, sidus Polonorum (2000). Now that Mikolaj Górecki has prepared the full score of Sanctus Adalbertus, we will be able to hear it in its original context.
Sanctus Adalbertus has four movements, all of which relate to his other choral and vocal pieces (with or without instruments) in their contemplative directness. Typically, the orchestra is used either sparingly or tutti. The first two movements, 'Psalm' and 'Lauda', are solemn invocations. The concluding 'Gloria' is built around Poland's Christian battle-hymn, the medieval chant Bogurodzica, and it brings the oratorio from its initially reflective mood to a resounding, major-key celebration.
© Adrian Thomas, 2015