In memoriam Notre Dame de Paris

In memoriam Notre Dame de Paris


norman lebrecht

April 15, 2019

Words fail.

UPDATE: The Cavaille-Coll organ has been saved


  • Cubs Fan says:

    Tonight I’ll listen to some Widor and Franz Schmidt`s opera. What a horrible, tragic event.

  • Karl says:

    I’ve been watching it live on CNN. I hope no one was killed.

  • Caravaggio says:

    Words fail indeed

  • Simon Brown says:

    Listening now to Pierre Cochereau playing the Cavavaille Colle organ, which I hope has survived, but I fear will be badly damaged at the very least.

  • Zelda Macnamara says:

    Awful, awful, awful.

  • VIolinaccordion says:

    A personal tragedy for Latry, the greatest of all improvisers. But a great challenge to design and build an equally great, even better instrument.

  • Derek says:

    So many will have memories and deep feelings tonight with this very sad event.

    Such a shock – Notre-Dame is one of the most historical buildings in the world.

  • Marg says:

    A great tragedy on every level.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Absolute catastrophe. I’m heartbroken and inconsolable. It will not be rebuilt in my lifetime.

  • EPBiggs says:

    Not the time for sensational headlines and uninformed assumptions – the known facts are terrible enough. MSNBC’s Richard Engle is supposed to have reported an hour ago that the windows and organ are saved. One desperately hopes this is true. More hard info on the organ would be more than welcome – up to now it has been almost nonexistent.

  • Bill says:

    Apparently, the organ has survived mostly undamaged. A miracle.

    • CJ says:

      I’ve just heard on the French radio that the organ had not be destroyed by the fire, but damaged by the water and that it was too soon to estimate the extent of the damage, there are still 100 firemen on the site
      (11h, 16.4).

  • ben says:


  • Stephen Lawrence says:

    R. I. P.

  • “Destroyed by fire” is a surprising common phrase in the history of these cathedrals that are famous for their stone architecture.

    It won’t be cheap but it can be put back together. The spire that fell was a 19th Century addition.

    • fflambeau says:

      The original also had a spire but the 19th century renovation made it larger. It was destroyed in the fire. The Germans completely and beautifully rebuilt the Frauenkirche in Dresden after it was bombed in WWII. Let’s hope the same thing results with ND.

  • Spenser says:

    My heart is broken.

  • Nick2 says:

    I watched in disbelief. The severity of the flames seemed to indicate nothing would be left. Thankfully the main bell towers remain intact and mercifully no-one was killed.

    It all made me wonder: how many British Cathedrals might be in danger of a similar sort of unexplained fire?

  • Robert von Bahr says:

    I read that they could save the works of art, but noone mentions the organ. Was it destroyed?

  • John Borstlap says:

    The commotion, not ony in France but also internationally, is due to the symbolic value of the building. But only the wooden roof, spire, small part of the central vault and a small glass-stained window have been destroyed / damaged. Thanks to the firefighters the overall stone structure has remained stable which means that it can all be restored and / or reconstructed. The president, just about to deliver his most important speech since his election, live on TV, behaved exemplarily, immediately postponing the speech and hurrying to the site, and finding all the right words in his comments. The wave of support, moral and financial, national and international, proves how important ancient monuments are for the present and the future. I don’t think an object like the Philharmonie would ever be able to spark such sentiments.

  • Una says:

    And during Holy Week as well – the most solemn time for Christians of all denominations but never more than for Catholics abroad. Notre Dame was not a museum or a concert hall but a working church. Just awful for those Catholics in particular but a great loss for everyone else.

  • BrianB says:

    Norman, where and how may one contribute to a rebuilding fund? This should be a worldwide effort.

  • Alexander Tarak says:

    A calamity !!