New Bells at Notre Dame, Paris

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New Bells at Notre Dame, Paris

Postby JohnGouwens on Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:29 am

Elizabeth Vitu (longtime resident of France, but American-born), submitted the following to the GCNA E-Mail members' list:

Dear Guild Members,

The news bells for Nôtre Dame de Paris arrived yesterday, with police escorts throughout the trip from Normandy to Paris, news coverage and literally thousands of well-wishers who watched the scene. The bells will be on display in the nave of Nôtre Dame for three weeks. On March 23rd, they will ring out for the first time, after their upcoming installation in the two belfries; 8 bells will be put in the north tower, and the second bourdon in the south tower.

Below are several links to see the videos in French, and the last two listed in English. (The last link has some exceptional photos of the bells in the making.)

For those of you who do not read French, I have translated the following, from the Nôtre Dame website which indicates the names of the new bells:

The given names in homage to well-known people of the Church, or of saints:
- Marie (for the small bourdon in honour of the Virgin Mary; name given to first bourdon of Nôtre Dame, founded in 1378)
- Gabriel (in honour of Saint Gabriel, who announced the birth of Jesus, son of the Virgin Mary)
- Anne-Geneviève (in honour of Saint Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary, and in honour of Saint Geneviève, patron of the town on Paris)
- Denis (in honour of Saint Denis, first bishop of Paris, c. 250, and patron of the diocese)
- Marcel (in honour of Saint Marcel, ninth bishop of Paris at the end of the IVth century)
- Etienne (in honour of Saint Etienne, first martyr, but also the name of the basilica erected as of 690 at the actual site of the cathedral)
- Benoit-Joseph (in honour of Pope Benoit XVI Joseph Ratzinger, pope since 2005)
- Maurice (in memory of Maurice de Sully, 72nd bishop of Paris from 1160 to 1196, who undertook the edification of the actual cathedral, in 1163)
- Jean-Marie (in memory of Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, 139th bishop of Paris, from 1981-2005)

Best regards,
Elizabeth Vitu

The new bells aren't without controversy, however. I saw a video diatribe against replacing them (but cannot locate it at present), though to me it seemed odd - since neither the 19th-century bells nor the "in the earlier style" replacements were tuned bells anyway.

Below is link to a picture of the new bells being brought in ceremoniously. (You may have to be in Facebook to see it - not sure.)

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=303769999745071&set=a.207078062747599.43206.100572883398118&type=1&permPage=1

Some of the external decorations on those bells look odd to me. Does anybody have any insights about them?
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Re: New Bells at Notre Dame, Paris

Postby JohnGouwens on Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:24 am

Elizabeth added the following:

http://www.linternaute.com/actualite/depeche/afp/17/1046715/les_neuf_cloches_geantes_sont_arrivees_a_notre_dame_de_paris.shtml?utm_source=benchmail&utm_medium=mail&utm_campaign=ML356_E10239047&f_u=316568

This link provides, in part, a short video with the bell sculptor giving some brief explanations on the choice of bell decorations. The best information would be, of course, to contact Corneille Havard directly.

Elizabeth Vitu
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Re: New Bells at Notre Dame, Paris

Postby JohnGouwens on Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:22 pm

Elizabeth has offered the following translation for key parts of the above link:

Translation article Internaute
Marie (6 tons of copper-tin alloy for a G#), Gabriel (4.1 tons, A#), Anne-Geneviève (3.4 tons, B), Denis (2.5 tons, C#), Marcel (1.9 tons, D#), Etienne (1.5 tons, F), Benoit Joseph (1.3 tons, F#), Maurice (1 ton, G#) and Jean-Marie (782 kilos, A#)

From interview at bottom of page

“On each bell there are parts which are layered with gold leaf, parts which are poly-satined, and parts which are sculpted. This one [the one she is in front of] has rocks on it, small rocks because this is the bell for Saint Etienne [Steven] who was stoned to death, so the stones are attributed to him. The effects and materials sculpted on each bell has a direct link with the person it is attributed to.”

“There has not been a ring like this since 1680. It is a true success.”
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Re: New Bells at Notre Dame, Paris

Postby JohnGouwens on Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:40 pm

More about the bells. Some of this in Dutch, but interesting nonetheless:
https://twitter.com/SusEijsbouts
http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/bell-maria-is-prepared-for-transport-at-the-royal-eijsbouts-news-photo/158600786

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/01/31/new-bells-en-route-for-paris-notre-dame-cathedral/

Margo Halsted has sent (to the GCNA e-mail list) photos of two of the bells, which were actually cast by Eijsbouts. Unfortunately, I didn't have any luck getting them posted here, as they need to come from a URL somewhere.
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Re: New Bells at Notre Dame, Paris

Postby Gideon Bodden on Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:24 pm

It is a very controversial operation! The 4 19th century bells of the cathedral, they were called the "Benjamines" and have been cast (at the order of Napoleon) in 1856 by the bellfoundery of Guillaume Besson, in Angers, have a spectacular sound character, and are true monuments. They have been removed from the tower illegally (the church was not given permission by the state authorities to remove this protected national heritage). The church has spread lies about the reason these bells needed to be replaced. Although the cathedral says in press releases that the new bells are made as a 'reconstruction' of the partly medieval peal of the cathedral, which existed until the French revolution, it hasn't even been attempted to make the new bells sound and look like the old bells. All 9 bells have been tuned from the top to the bottom like carillon bells! The ornaments on the new bells, and their finish, looks like it came out of the Walt Disney studios. It is such a shame that in 2013 it doesn't even require a war to deprive one of Europe's major cathedrals of from its historic bells.
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Re: New Bells at Notre Dame, Paris

Postby JohnGouwens on Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:35 pm

Oh, this is certainly interesting! Two of the bells were cast by Eijsbouts, but the rest were from this French foundry that has never made a carillon (so far as I know, at least). Are they tuned as well as the Eijsbouts bells? The 1856 bells surely weren't tuned. What, then, makes them so "magnificent," Gideon? It would be interesting to post some clearer pictures showing the admittedly-bizarre decorations on the bells. So, Gideon, what, in your view, is the "real" reason the church wanted to replace those bells?
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Re: New Bells at Notre Dame, Paris

Postby JohnGouwens on Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:38 pm

I haven't heard a thing about replacing the three clock chiming bells at Notre-Dame, and they surely are buckets! (Ting-tang chime, ascending, with an even higher bell for the hour strike.)
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Re: New Bells at Notre Dame, Paris

Postby JohnGouwens on Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:47 pm

Dennis Curry sent this around - the whole (lengthy) consecration service for the new bells:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-9GAHUtgz8

At that YouTube location, somebody noted the following:

Leander Schoormans 1 week ago
Bells ringing at:
18:21
20:12
21:34
23:01
24:30
26:06
27:42
29:21
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