Survivor of the 2019 fire, Notre-Dame de Paris pipe organ will yet be given deep cleaning. As a matter of fact, it is covered in lead dust and some parts have suffered of the thermal variations the cathedral has undergone since the fire, especially during the heatwave in July 2019.
Renovations will start on Monday August 3, 2020 with the removal of the keydesk, followed by the dismantlement of all 8,000 pipes. It will take about 6 months to remove every single part. Advisory technician for the Ministry of Culture Eric Brottier explains the length of the process: because of lead pollution, “we must follow a very precise protocol. It will be completed under special suit and helmet and shall no exceed 1h30 in a row. Solution may be to get more people, but not non-stop”. And the vault is also an issue as it may collapse at any time.
Elements will be stored in four airtight containers. The instrument will be then decontaminated in a workshop, elements restored if need be, and rebuild before 2024, said to be the reopening of Notre-Dame.
Entrusted with the restoration and preservation of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, army general Jean-Louis Georgelin says: “Our ambition is to return the instrument in the working condition it was prior to the fire. Six months are needed to tune and harmonize it. It was then necessary to launch this operation as soon as possible to make sure the pipe organ will play on April 15, 2024”.
This organ is one of the most modern in France. Inherited from a medieval organ with one keydesk and a blockwerk, the instrument has been altered and modernized several times. In 1833, Louis-Paul Dallery alters the classic organ. Keys now include 60 keys, and the base is taken up. And new bellows are set up. As for now, after many additions, it includes 115 real sets from 2014 with a now digital transmission.
At the same time, workers are busy dismantling the huge scaffolding of Notre-Dame because it got deformed.