Pipe by precious pipe, the organ that once thundered through Notre Dame Cathedral is being taken apart after last year’s devastating fire.
The mammoth task of dismantling, cleaning and reassembling France’s largest musical instrument started on Monday and is expected to last nearly four years.
Once restored, it would take six months just to tune the organ, according to the state agency overseeing Notre Dame’s restoration.
Its music is not expected to resound again through the medieval Paris monument until 2024, to the dismay of the cathedral’s dedicated organists.
“It’s a very powerful organ, but with also a lot of poetry,” said Johann Vexo, who was playing the organ during an evening Mass when the fire alarm sounded on April 15 last year. “It’s just probably the most beautiful organ in the world.”
Amazingly, the 8,000-pipe organ survived the fire, which consumed the cathedral’s roof and toppled its spire.
However, the blaze coated the instrument in toxic lead dust that must now be painstakingly removed.
While the organ did not burn, it did suffer damage from a record heat wave last summer and has been affected by other temperature variations it has been exposed to since the 12th-century cathedral lost its roof, the agency said.
Notre Dame remains closed to the public.
Experts started removing the organ’s keyboards on Monday and would then take out its pipes in a dismantling process that would last through the end of this year, the reconstruction agency said.
The pieces would be placed in special containers inside the huge cathedral, where the cleaning and restoration would take place.
The general who leads the agency said that the organ, which dates from 1733, would next play again on April 16, 2024, marking five years since the fire.
Vexo was already dreaming of that day.
“Like all my colleagues, we are very sad, and we know that we have to be very patient over the next few years,” he told reporters outside the cathedral.
He expressed hope that they will “find the building and instruments exactly as they were before, or almost exactly. We are waiting for this day ... when the building will reopen.”
French President Emmanuel Macron hopes the cathedral can reopen in time for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”