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Paul Isom

Nantes Cathedral - serious fire

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I have just heard in the news that there has been a serious fire at Nantes Cathedral:

https://www.leparisien.fr/faits-divers/nantes-violent-incendie-dans-la-cathedrale-18-07-2020-8354811.php

Another tragedy in France in addition to Notre Dame, Paris and Soissons.

https://www.musiqueorguequebec.ca/orgues/france/nantescsp.html

 

 

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The latest report on the BBC suggests that the Grand Organ has been destroyed in the fire. The French police are treating the fire as a criminal act.

 

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1 hour ago, contraviolone said:

The latest report on the BBC suggests that the Grand Organ has been destroyed in the fire. The French police are treating the fire as a criminal act.

 

Both confirmed by Reuters. One local prosecutor has said that "three fires had been started at the site". Perhaps it is possible that someone somehow stayed in the cathedral overnight somehow but you would think that the building would be checked over at locking up time. Organ was by Cliquot (1784) and others. IV/74/104.

The man thing here is that the damage to the cathedral in Nantes is understood to be not as serious as that at NDP. Interestingly, despite the words from that local prosecutor, a local fire chief has said that the fire "had broken out behind the grand organ" but confirms the instrument's destruction.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-france-nantes-fire/fire-destroys-organ-shatters-stained-glass-at-nantes-cathedral-in-france-idUKKBN24J07Q

So two probable causes: either arson (as suggested by the prosecutor) or an electrical fault in the organ (if the local fire chief is correct: electrical equipment for the organ might have been located there). A sad loss either way organ-wise.

Dave

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The first organ that I played had a mains electricity isolation switch box, located at a considerable distance in the Rector's vestry.  I forget how we accessed it during weekday lunchtimes (nearly 70 years ago!) but no risk of out of hours electrical fires with that arrangement.  I believe that my local cathedral organ is similarly protected now.  As far as I am aware, this does not have any adverse consequences for registration memories.  

Of course, it isn't established what caused this fire.  It's a very sad loss.

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1 hour ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

The first organ that I played had a mains electricity isolation switch box, located at a considerable distance in the Rector's vestry.  I forget how we accessed it during weekday lunchtimes (nearly 70 years ago!) but no risk of out of hours electrical fires with that arrangement.  I believe that my local cathedral organ is similarly protected now.  As far as I am aware, this does not have any adverse consequences for registration memories.  

Of course, it isn't established what caused this fire.  It's a very sad loss.

Looking at the specification, the Grand Organ appeared to have a significant percentage of pipework by Clicquot. A tragic loss indeed.

The specification for the Grand Organ may be viewed here:

https://www.musiqueorguequebec.ca/orgues/france/nantescsp.html

 

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I think that the rather fine Orgue de Choeur has survived (apart from the console which was destroyed).  It is unusually large for such an instrument.  I have an excellent recording of the organ works of Rene Vierne played by the current titulaire which is well worth buying.

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11 hours ago, DaveHarries said:

Both confirmed by Reuters. One local prosecutor has said that "three fires had been started at the site". Perhaps it is possible that someone somehow stayed in the cathedral overnight somehow but you would think that the building would be checked over at locking up time. Organ was by Cliquot (1784) and others. IV/74/104.

 

Exactly the same thing that happened at York Minster in 1829, with the exception that the organ which was destroyed in that case was by Blythe (1803) and ?bits of Bernard Smith (1691), and the case by Dallam.

The original choir stalls went as well.

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5 hours ago, Paul Isom said:

I think that the rather fine Orgue de Choeur has survived (apart from the console which was destroyed).  It is unusually large for such an instrument.  I have an excellent recording of the organ works of Rene Vierne played by the current titulaire which is well worth buying.

Yes. One of the two other fires was on one side of the nave and has taken the console of the OdC of which the pipework has survived, albeit probably in need of a clean by now.

Dave

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Some photographs of the damage from the Diocesan website here.

Choir organ seems intact minus what appears to have been its detached console:
20200718_101903.jpg

Remains of main organ:
20200718_101735.jpg

Authorities said to be investigating arson as fires broke out in three separate locations including both organs and a church volunteer who was responsible for locking up is reportedly being investigated.

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8 hours ago, Contrabombarde said:

Some photographs of the damage from the Diocesan website here.

Choir organ seems intact minus what appears to have been its detached console:
20200718_101903.jpg

Remains of main organ:
20200718_101735.jpg

Authorities said to be investigating arson as fires broke out in three separate locations including both organs and a church volunteer who was responsible for locking up is reportedly being investigated.

So another 'organ hater' then?

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10 hours ago, Contrabombarde said:

Authorities said to be investigating arson as fires broke out in three separate locations including both organs and a church volunteer who was responsible for locking up is reportedly being investigated.

BBC News have said that the arrested man was released without charge on Sunday evening (19th July): see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-53462790 in which can be found a quote from a clerk (priest?) of the cathedral, Jean-Charles Nowak, who is quoted as saying that the volunteer was "a man of duty who had suffered a lot in Rwanda [.....] I don't believe for a second that he could have set the cathedral on fire. It's a place he adores."

Dave

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