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Notre-DAME-restoration

Four-year restoration work starts on Notre-Dame's historic organ

Le grand orgue est photographié lors des travaux préliminaires de la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris trois mois après un incendie majeur le 17 juillet 2019 à Paris.
Le grand orgue est photographié lors des travaux préliminaires de la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris trois mois après un incendie majeur le 17 juillet 2019 à Paris. STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / POOL / AFP
Text by: Arnab Béranger with RFI
2 min

Restoration work on Notre-Dame’s 250-year-old organ started Monday. For the next four years, the 8000 tubes of the instrument will be disassembled and cleaned. The organ is expected to be ready for the cathedral’s planned re-opening in April 2024.

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The Notre-Dame’s organ, located at the monument’s west wing, has been the cathedral’s acoustic marvel since 1733. Fortunately, the majestic instrument was untouched by the fire in April last year, and was not excessively sprayed by firemen’s hoses.

However, since the fire, the organ has been covered by lead dust, and also damaged by thermal variations, notably the 2019 heatwave.

Notre Dame, part of a UNESCO world heritage site on the banks of the River Seine, lost its Gothic spire, roof and many precious artefacts in the fire, which was watched by huge crowds on 15 April 2019.
Notre Dame, part of a UNESCO world heritage site on the banks of the River Seine, lost its Gothic spire, roof and many precious artefacts in the fire, which was watched by huge crowds on 15 April 2019. © AFP

Painstaking and meticulous work over four years

Surrounded by a 30-metre high scaffolding, the organ will have its keyboards removed starting Monday.

Then, till the end of the year, the instrument’s 8000 tubes, along with hundreds of wooden and metal pieces, will be disassembled and packed into four airtight containers.

A contractor will subsequently be hired to clean, restore and reassemble the instrument.

‘Te Deum’ to play for cathedral’s re-opening

After the organ is assembled, six more months will be required for tuning and harmony work.

According to cathedral authorities, the organ is expected to be ready for a re-opening ceremony on 16 April 2024, exactly four years after the fire, as desired by President Macron.

Latin Christian hymn ‘Te Deum’ has been programmed as the restored organ’s inaugural piece.

(With AFP)

 

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