While Paris’s Notre Dame is rebuilt following 2019 fire, music moves to city’s other churches

Posted on: December 13, 2021

“It has been more than two-and-a-half years since fire tore through Notre-Dame, the most visited church in the world and France’s most visited monument,” writes Elaine Sciolino in Thursday’s (12/9) New York Times. “The French president has promised that the cathedral will reopen in time for the 2024 Paris Olympics. The musical tradition at Notre-Dame is as old as the cathedral itself…. But since the fire, the cathedral’s ancient music school and its choirs, called the Maîtrise of Notre-Dame, has struggled financially … and had to fire most of its staff and musicians…. The musicians now perform like a band of musical nomads…. Tourists … who had made the Cathedral a pilgrimage site have been left bereft. The sense of loss is especially acute during the Christmas holidays, when Notre-Dame’s midnight Christmas mass doubled as a glorious organ and choir concert. But there is a surefire way to emulate the joy and comfort previously found at Notre Dame: Follow the music. The cathedral’s closure has opened many visitors to a world overlooked even by Parisians themselves: the city’s more than 100 churches. Most of these have some music accompanying mass and Vespers…. Many … have musically extraordinary organs (and organists).”