Friday, June 14, 2024

Trouble over future church music at Notre-Dame Cathedral

Cheer, Cheer for Old Notre-Dame ...

The organ out of order, the organists out of tune: There is trouble over the future church music at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris

The current team of organists feels ignored by the church leadership when it comes to rejuvenating the team, as several Parisian media report. 

The appointment of new, younger musicians and the omission of long-serving colleagues took place without consultation, a call for tenders or a competition, according to the tenor of an online petition that has been launched. 

This was non-transparent, brutal and unjustified.

Six months before the reopening of the cathedral in December, church musicians are particularly offended by the appointment of a 21-year-old organ student without a degree, according to the portal 

The sole belief in a promising talent is incomprehensible. The cathedral administration explained that the selection of organists is part of the rector's duties. 

The rector had formed an opinion by listening to the candidates; the candidate had always been at the top of his class and had already proved himself during a stay in the USA.

No farewell "with respect and dignity"

Following the major fire at Notre-Dame in April 2019, it was decided to dismiss the organists for financial reasons. The full-time choir organist had moved his activities to the replacement cathedral Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois. 

According to the organists, the main player of the Great Organ was not offered the opportunity to postpone his retirement so that he could officiate "with respect and dignity" until the reopening ceremony of the episcopal church.

The early Gothic episcopal church of Notre-Dame in Paris is a Parisian landmark. It is considered by many to be the epitome of French cathedrals. 

Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the church is prominently located on the Ile de la Cite on the Seine in the historic centre and was visited by around 12 to 14 million people a year before the major fire in 2019. 

A major fire broke out on 15 April 2019 during renovation work, destroying the roofs and roof trusses, parts of the vaults and the crossing tower. 

President Emmanuel Macron's wish to reopen the church by the fifth anniversary of the fire could not quite be met; it is now scheduled to take place on 8 December.