France loses a great organ to fire

France loses a great organ to fire


norman lebrecht

July 19, 2020

The Diocese of Nantes has published pictures of the terrible conflagration that ravaged the Cathedral on yesterday.

Lost beyond repair are the Grand Organ and the stalls and console of the choir organ, all destroyed.

The organ is the work of Jacques Girardet, dated around 1620.

In April 2019, the great organ of Notre Dame de Paris survived a fire in the cathedral.


  • Adrienne says:

    Apparently three fires started in the cathedral.

    How can that happen?

    • Olassus says:

      Rwandan refugee volunteer cathedral caretaker, with keys, is in custody.

      • Chris Isbell says:

        The person arrested has not been charged and reports suggest that he is unlikely to have been the culprit. This is explained in the BBC new report of his arrest.

        • Sue Sonata Form says:

          Ah, the BBC. You can trust them. They don’t have bias of any kind. Or an agenda.

          • Larry D says:

            You think everyone has a secret or not dreadful liberal agenda. Of course, compared to you, everyone does.

          • Minh Fann says:


            …totally debunked as a “crying point” by Hillary.

            What Happened by Hillary Clinton who continues to blame EVERYONE including women and blacks for her easy defeat.

          • PFmus says:

            oh good – wasn’t enough Russians here, now we have WuMao trolling

          • Chris Isbell says:

            Generally yes. No organisation or person is completely impartial, but the BBC are one of the best. Whenever I have independently fact checked their reports, they have proved to be accurate. My trust in their impartially is therefore evidence based.

          • Maria says:

            The BBC is world renound for its World Service. No such thing as perfect broadcaster and it has its faults but still, as public service broadcaster for which we Brits pay in, the whole world benefits – who don’t pay.

        • #BLM says:

          Another symbol of systemic racism down the pan!!!!

          • Nathan says:

            You’re systematically racist, and it’s clear to anyone that you just want to see things burned because you’re incapable and envious of creation.

      • John Rook says:

        Une Chance Pour la France!

    • rugbyfiddler says:

      Arson is quotes as the cause.

    • Dennis says:

      Arson in show. You don’t think they just spontaneously sprouted up?

      There has been a rash of church arsons and vandalism in France for years, but it largely gets buried and fobbed-off as just amazing accidents in the press because it’s politically incorrect to report the truth of their origin.

  • Robert King says:

    A tragedy. There were some two dozen stops from the 1784 François-Henri Clicquot instrument (not many of the earlier 1619/20 Girardet pipes remained). Ironically the instrument had survived the Revolution (thanks to the canny intervention of the organist, Denis Joubert, who had been the driving force behind the Clicquot rebuild) and, though badly damaged during World War II, the instrument was able to be restored in the 1970s. And now, nothing remains of this unique, 74 stop instrument.

  • Musician says:

    News like this makes me feel sick to my stomach.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Same. Entirely.

      • Norbert says:

        It’s the musical equivalent of taking a beautiful old (valuable) cello and swinging it over your head, onto the ground, Jimi Hendrix style.

        What does it say about a person, that this is the place they’ve reached in their life?

        • Don Corrado says:

          Many US Catholic clergy fail to.maintain pipe organs that are often the most valuable thing that a parish owns.

    • Martha E. Hammond says:


  • Elvira says:

    What a tragedy, I feel a personal pain when an instrument is destroyed ,or burned or stolen or vandalized.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    An absolute travesty. A very sad day for music-lovers and Christians alike.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    The Catholic News Agency report just issued (15 minutes ago) quotes cathedral staffers as dismissing the possibility the person in custody could have caused the fire, and law enforcement says it’s far too early to suggest he might have been involved.

    The article also reviews cases of fires, including this month’s fire that heavily damaged the 18th century Mission San Gabriel in California.

  • Roger says:

    Don’t worry, the organ had been mutilated like so many others in the 70’s, and hopefully they will get a better instrument as a result of this. They may have done us a favour!

  • Peter S Alamillo III says:

    The consummate hypocrisy of civic officials to decry racial injustice yet allow hate crimes against Christians. The Catholic Church gave the modern world everything it knows to be the MODERN CIVILIZED SOCIETY we enjoy . ABSOLUTELY REVOLTING to see it so maligned and vilivied .

  • Ray J says:

    Yet another attack on culture , history and Christianity! Wake up world!

  • Dan says:

    How about more organ news on SD? Only headlines in here is when there is an arson.

  • Seth Bradley says:

    I hope you find a new organ for the cathedral it’s such a great loss a vintage organ my condolences to you and the organist and my prayers are with the pastor in this difficult in time hope God up in the heavens blesses you all

  • CGDA says:

    France has a big problem caused by people having no respect towards others! Burning churches, burning cars, harassing women, acting in an uncivilised way is not on! These people need to be dealt with legally so that civilised people, regardless of their origin, can carry on with their life in peace.

  • Le Křenek du jour says:

    To everyone who was too hasty in “rounding up the usual suspects”:
    The volunteer helper identified as a Rwandan refugee who had been held for questioning (where’s the politely ambiguous “helping with the inquiries” when it’s most needed?) has been released and is not considered implicated in any way:

    To all those who love Barbara, but didn’t yet know this lovely detail:
    there exists now, indeed, a « rue de la Grange au Loup » in Nantes; it even features a number 25. The street was named *after* the one hauntingly invented by Barbara for her all-too biographical chanson.

  • engineers_unite says:

    The guy has admitted liability and “regrets his actions”…

    ’nuff said.