Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums General `Bell Stuff` New Notre Dame bells make harmonious history

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    • #12207

      The cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris celebrates its 850th birthday by upgrading to bells that are actually in tune.

      The cathedral of Notre Dame — French for “our lady” — has finally got the prima donna worthy of its name.

      Weighing in at six and a half tons of glistening bronze, this lady is no ordinary person: she’s a bell named Mary.

      Mary is in fact the largest — and loudest — of nine new, gargantuan Notre Dame bells being blessed Saturday in the cathedral’s nave by Archbishop Andre Armand Vingt-Trois.

      “They are beautiful [bells]… We will hear them ringing today during the celebration, and we will hear them during coming years as Notre Dame’s chimes,” Father Edouard, a priest from outside Paris who had come for the blessing, said.

      The nine casts were ordered for the cathedral’s 850th birthday — to replace the discordant “ding dang” of the previous four 19th century chimes. After the originals bells — including the original Mary — were destroyed in the French Revolution, the replacements were widely said to be France’s most out-of-tune church bells. There’s some irony that in Victor Hugo’s classic novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” the solitary bell-ringer Quasimodo was deaf.

      For Catholics, as well as visitors with pitch-perfect ears, it’s a historic moment for the 900-year-old cathedral.

      “During the French Revolution, they [the original bells] were all brought down and broken except [one]and four other bells that were recast in the middle of the 19th century … This will complete in a definitive manner the entire set of 10 bells as conceived … in the Middle Ages,” Notre Dame rector Patrick Jacquin said.

      Jean-Marie, Maurice, Benoit-Joseph, Steven, Marcel, Dennis, Anne-Genevieve, Gabriel will ring together with Mary to add a harmony to the French gothic landmark, not heard since 1789.

      Travelers have come far and wide to catch a glimpse of the bronze giants — on public display until Feb. 23.

      “I came from Spain, just for today to see them,” 21-year-old Eugenia Santos said. “Notre Dame and the bells are famous thanks to the church and also Victor Hugo … With more bells, maybe Quasimodo won’t be so lonely anymore.”

      “It’s a great event,” Sister Dorothee Noel Raharitafitasoa, of Madagascar, said.

      Testament to the international pull of Notre Dame — with its 20 million annual visitors — on each bell is written “Via viatores quaerit,” latin for “I am the path looking for travelers.”

      Each bell has a unique and different patterning, some with shiny and etched sections, and each chime to a beautiful different pitch.

      Mary will soon be hoisted up to the gothic south tower to ring out — echoed by other eight in the north tower — over the medieval gargoyles, historic rooftops, and the snaking Seine River.


    • #17340

      Notre Dame Cathedral – Paris, Ile de France

      Maintenance of cathedral and casting of Bourdon

      Casting of smaller bells

    • #17341

      Notre Dame Cathedral’s new bells arrive

      New Bells Of Notre Dame Ring At Blessing

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