Paris, France — It is one of the largest instruments in France with its 8,000 pipes spread out over 115 ranks, the sets of pipes producing the same timbre for each note. The great organ of Notre-Dame of Paris has been the voice of the cathedral since 1733. And it has just left home, removed meticulously for deep cleaning and restoration. While the organ suffered little damage from the fire that extensively damaged the medieval UNESCO World Heritage site on April 15th, 2019, it was covered in lead particles.
The huge and complex operation to take apart and lift the instrument, in stages, out of the fire-damaged building took four months. A scaffold nearly 100 feet (30 meters) high was erected in front of the organ to safely descend the elements. The removal began last August with the keyboards leaving first and wound up on December 9th when the 19 wind chests – the pieces upon which the pipes are positioned which enable the wind to feed them — were removed. The organ was taken to a Parisian warehouse in four refrigerated trucks.
The operation under the direction of the expert in musical instruments and organs Christian Lutz involved the participation of 11 organ makers. Once the restoration work has been finished, six months will be required to tune and harmonize the instrument. The organ is slated to return to the cathedral and gradually be reassembled in time for the re-opening of the cathedral, scheduled for 2024.
©The Gourmet Gazette
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