Author Topic: Paris Notre-Dame  (Read 2853 times)

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David Pinnegar

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Paris Notre-Dame
« on: April 15, 2019, 11:00:10 PM »
A friend has this evening drawn my attention to the terrible event in Paris https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-europe-47942176

One might think that the instrument would be one of the most studied instruments in all of organ history but could it be re-created?

It's on account of total destructions such as this that it's incumbent upon all to preserve whatever wisps of  heritage in our care.

Best wishes

David P

Ian van Deurne

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Re: Paris Notre-Dame
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2019, 02:07:38 PM »
It would appear, according to the latest reports on social media that the great organ has miraculously survived the inferno. There is a photo of the west end of the building taken after the fire and it shows the front case intact, although how much smoke and water damage it has sustained is of course unknown at the present time. Not so much information as to the condition of the other organ in the choir is yet known, although in this case I would think that at least it must have suffered a great deal of water damage.


Although not really able to be classed as a genuine Cavaillé-Coll instrument anymore since it has been rebuilt many times, the great organ has a history that few other European instruments can match, For almost all of the major French organ composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries have either given concerts here or have been appointed as the organist at one time or another. From the time that the young Charles-Marie Widor was chosen to be one of the organists to inaugurate the new organ in 1868, the list of organists read like a veritable Who's Who of France at the time when French organ music dominated the whole scene, probably with just a single exception, the German composer Max Reger.


I hear that President Macron has said that the cathedral will be rebuilt by 2024 but I think that's just wishful thinking. Another problem is just how are they going to replace some of the massive timbers that have been there for the last 866 years, because there are no trees of that size in the whole of Europe today, most of them went on constructing large sailing ships from the 15th-18th centuries. So these giant timbers that supported the stone walls internally will probably have to be replaced by steel RSJ's enclosed in wood to make them look authentic, but of course, all of this will need to be investigated once the full extent of the damage has been evaluated and the best plans on how to restore this iconic building have been decided.


As for the organ, let us hope that it can be fully restored in time in the same way and sound condition that had inspired so many organists and listeners alike throughout its history.


With best wishes,
Ian


Ian van Deurne

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Re: Paris Notre-Dame
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2019, 04:00:38 PM »
Thanks David for the update.

However, the news, by the cathedral organist himself that the staff of Notre Dame are going to raise the whole organ up "on a pulley" to get to the water damage seems rather frightening.
Doesn't he realise that an organ of this size will weigh around 85 tonnes at least!

Hopefully, someone will engage the services of a competent, professional organ builder before the instrument suffers even more damage than the fire ever did to it!

With best wishes,
Ian. 

JBR

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Re: Paris Notre-Dame
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2019, 10:43:07 PM »
Thanks David for the update.

However, the news, by the cathedral organist himself that the staff of Notre Dame are going to raise the whole organ up "on a pulley" to get to the water damage seems rather frightening.
Doesn't he realise that an organ of this size will weigh around 85 tonnes at least!

Hopefully, someone will engage the services of a competent, professional organ builder before the instrument suffers even more damage than the fire ever did to it!

With best wishes,
Ian.

Raise it up using a pulley?

Surely they won't do that.  In fact, I see no reason for wanting to raise up the entire instrument to check for water damage.

I'd have thought the best thing to do would be to examine it thoroughly (internally) and even dismantle it as far as necessary.

I'd be interested to learn what they actually end up doing.
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Ian van Deurne

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Re: Paris Notre-Dame
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2019, 11:41:51 PM »
No never. There's obviously been something lost in translation here. It's also a little worrying what's actually happened to the choir organ. Has it been destroyed or is it able to be restored?
Hopefully, as time passes we will be told more about the restoration about both organs. I'm going to try to make a visit to Paris sometime in the summer so perhaps I'll be able to find out a little more at first hand about what's happening with both organs. If I do I will make sure to inform everyone here.

With best wishes,
Ian.


P,S. I once had to "guestimate" the weight of one of my own organs by the church architect as he wanted to know if the west gallery where it would be placed was strong enough to take the increase in weight as the former smaller organ was on the floor in the north transept. He had already determined that no structural reinforcements would be required so long as the organ would weigh no more than 42 tonnes. After making some very detailed calculations, I was able to inform him that the organ (Three manuals and pedal - 56 stops) would weigh around 27 tonnes, give or take 2 tonnes so all was okay. This organ was built in 1984 and to this day there has never been any structual problems with either the organ or the gallery so I think that I may have got everything right! 

 


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