In Cascina Battivacco, a small "cascina" farm right on the southern border of Milan’s residential areas, a small choir from our town’s Duomo cathedral performed 20 short religious songs from the "Ambrosian" catholic rite, originally defined by St. Ambrose himself back in the 4th century AD and still alive and flourishing as the only accepted catholic rite different from the Roman.
 
This "Vox Ambrosii" show was amazing for a few reasons:
  • the breathtaking simplicity of this ancient music and somehow also of the underlying text
  • the richness of the text, as concise and dense as Latin is when carefully crafted for education, so much more than today’s Italian and comparable to the tersest English
  • The setting, to the accompaniment to neighing horses, in a cascina which is indeed the latest evolution of the eminently catholic land management form St. Bernard of Clairvaux and his order brought to the Po river valley

Beyond this all, I do feel the most amazing is the message that these religious songs, addressing each moment of the roman catholic mass per the Ambrosian rite, are more than a piece of Milan’s cultural heritage. Promoters, including Milan’s town government, argue and recommend to continue using them daily in catholic mass ritual in the region. Bold, and challenging, both for the flavour of this ancient music and the arcane density of the foreign language, similar to Italian and still known to few.

 
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