Following the devastating fire at Notre-Dame cathedral on Monday, 15 April, Universal Music France and Decca Records have united with la Fondation du patrimoine to create a new album which will support the rebuilding of the iconic French building.
Entitled simply Notre-Dame, the album is a collection of sacred music from the cathedral which celebrates its rich musical history. It will be available on all digital platforms tomorrow, Friday, 19 April, followed by a physical release on 26 April. All benefits and artists royalties will be donated to la Fondation du patrimoine to help fund its restoration.
Not only is the Notre-Dame a cultural, historical and religious landmark, it is also the inspiration for some of the world’s greatest classical music. It gave rise to the “Notre Dame school” of composers (working at or near the cathedral around 1160-1250) and the sacred music they produced. Their lasting significance was to write down and develop western musical techniques which had previously only been improvised. 850 years later, Notre-Dame is still at the heart of musical culture.
Remarkably, the cathedral’s spectacular symphonic organ, which dates back to 1868, is understood to have survived the fire – although it’s not yet clear how much damage it suffered. The instrument, which is played on five keyboards and pedals and has nearly 8000 pipes, has played a central role in the popularity of French organ music over the past century. Several French composers have held the position of organist at Notre-Dame, and two of its most recent performers – Pierre Cochereau and Olivier Latry – appear on the new album.
Many of the recordings featured in the new Notre-Dame collection were made at the cathedral and feature artists including Cecilia Bartoli, Jessye Norman, Roberto Alagna, Christopher Hogwood, Herbert von Karajan and many more.
Olivier Nusse, President of Universal Music France, says: “We have no words to describe this tragedy. As generations of artists, we all have a story with this heritage treasure that considerably contributed to the expanding influence of sacred music. We had to help the cathedral once again stand as a symbol of French culture across the world.”
Célia Vérot, Managing Director of la Fondation du patrimoine, adds: “Thanks to the support of Universal Music France, la Fondation du patrimoine will be able to contribute to rescue Notre-Dame de Paris.”
Notre-Dame includes the following tracks:
Johann Sebastian Bach, Charles Gounod: ‘Ave Maria’
Johann Sebastian Bach: Toccata en ré mineur, BWV 565
Pérotin: ‘Beata viscera Mariae Virginis’
Léon Boëllmann: Suite gothique, op. 25: ‘Prière à Notre Dame’
Franz Schubert: ‘Ave Maria, D.839’
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: ‘Adagio et Fugue en ut mineur, K.546’
Antonio Vivaldi : ‘Stabat Mater, RV621: 1. Stabat mater’
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantate « Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir »,BWV 29: 1. Sinfonia
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi: Salve Regina en ut mineur: 1. Salve Regina
Charles-Marie Widor: ‘Symphonie pour orgue N° 5, op. 42 N° 1: V. Toccata’
Johann Sebastian Bach: ‘Magnificat en ré majeur, BWV 243: 1. Magnificat‘
Sergueï Rachmaninov: ‘Prélude en ut dièse mineur, op.3 N° 2’
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi: ‘Stabat Mater: 1. Stabat Mater’
Louis Vierne: ‘Berceuse en la majeur, op. 31 N° 19’
Anton Bruckner: ‘Ave Maria’
Giovanni Paisiello: ‘Messe du Sacre de Napoléon 1er à Notre-Dame de Paris: 1. Kyrie’
Camille Saint-Saëns: ‘Symphonie N° 3 en ut mineur, op. 78 « Avec Orgue »:
2b. Maestoso – Più allegro – Molto allegro’