“I first heard the great organ high in the west gallery of Notre Dame in 1963,” writes Craig R. Whitney in Tuesday’s (4/16) Washington Post. “The instrument, with 7,800 pipes, had survived two world wars, including a couple of bombs that hit the cathedral during the first. But it is not yet clear whether it survived Monday’s conflagration, or was catastrophically damaged or destroyed. Played on five keyboards and pedals, it is a symphonic organ, in tone and volume as majestic and powerful as the beloved building that has housed it since the great French organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll completed work on it in 1868…. Many great musicians have presided over the Notre Dame organ over the years. Louis Vierne, who became organist there in 1900, left behind six great symphonies and other works…. Notre Dame had organs before Cavaillé-Coll…. Until the early 20th century, the organ was almost completely mechanical in construction…. Over the years, various changes were made. Electric action was installed in the 1960s…. In 1992, with great fanfare, computer technology was installed, at a cost of $2.2 million.”

Posted April 16, 2019

In photo: The Cavaillé-Coll organ in Notre-Dame de Paris, before the devastating fire on April 15