Folk Music Instead of Choral — Milan’s Schola Gregoriana Mediolanensis Shown the Door
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Friday, December 4, 2015
(Milan) The famous Schola Gregoriana Mediolanensis of Milan, which is dedicated to the care of Gregorian and Ambrosian chant, has been removed from the Basilica of San Vittore al Corpo from Milan to make room for folk singing.
The Choral Schola founded in 1980 by the famous musician Giovanni Vianini and since then, choral schola director, consists of a men and a women’s schola, which currently includes 20 singers each. Together they form a mixed choir. Vianini is internationally recognized as a choral expert.
For 35 years, the Schola serves the dual founding mission: the liturgical choir service and the care and preservation of Gregorian and Ambrosian chant. In Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milan, as well as in the Basilica of San Vittore, remains true to the Ambrosian Rite of the Catholic Church. It goes back to the Church Father Ambrose, who was archbishop of Milan from 374-397. The first church of San Vittore is dated to the fourth century according to tradition. Today’s Baroque edifice comes from the 16th century.
chool of the Ambrosian Chant
The schola has introduced more than a thousand students from around the world to choral singing in the past 35 years. The Schola can refer to numerous recordings. 23 CD’s are currently commercially available. In addition to radio and television appearances, the Schola sang in numerous cathedrals and monastery churches in Italy, but also abroad, such as Fontgombault, Chartres, Rouen, Paray le Monial, Poitiers, Citeaux, Senanque, in Metz, Einsiedeln, Disentis, Engelberg, Müstair, Uznach , St. Gallen, just to name a few.
In its care of Gregorian Chant, the schola follows the school of the Benedictine monks of Solesmes. In the care of Ambrosian chant, it forms its own school, which is based on the publications and studies commissioned by Cardinal Ildefons Schuster (archbishop of Milan from 1929 to 1954) and his own studies of the medieval codices.
“Choral’s Prayer, is the sung word of God in the sacred liturgy”
“The singers are not professionals, but devote themselves seriously to the study and care of this important repertoire of sacred music. It’s a musical treasure that is carried forward especially in the sacred liturgy, because this music is prayer,it is the sung word of God, the language of the ineffable,” it says on the website of Schola Gregoriana Mediolanensis.” Gregorian chant is for the sacred music like the sunlight is for the trees, ” with these words Schola Master Vianni explained the importance of choral singing to his students. “Gregorian chant rises literally to Heaven.”
However, in the Basilica of San Vittore, where the Schola has done their volunteer service for 35 years, there is no room for the chant. “The Choral must make room for shallow singing with guitar accompaniment and electronic organ. The tradition of folk singing is not to be underestimated, however, to distinguish it from the sacred music. What is today but offered as contemporary folk singing, is neither liturgical either in its music or its lyrics. The melodies often have nothing to do with the Church music and the lyrics are sometimes at best merely religiously inspired,” said a disappointed member Schola.
“The verticality of choral singing must yield the horizontality of a flat folk song”
The expulsion of the Schola Gregoriana Mediolanensis is no single case. “The verticality of choral singing must give way to the horizontality of a flat, modern folk singing. This involves a misunderstanding of the active participation of the faithful. In Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milan there is unfortunately a systematic rejection of the Ambrosian and Gregorian chant under way,” said Messa in Latino.