The underground Fortress of Mimoyecques in Marquise (France) was constructed in 1943 by Nazi Germany to shelter a battery of V-3 cannons that were aimed at London (England, UK). More than one thousand prisoners from eighteen countries who were forced laborers died in the Fortress of Mimoyecques when they were sacrificed for the destruction of it in 1944 by Allied Forces.
My ideas for Mimoyecques began during my initial visit to the fortress. The work would be programmatic in nature and two sets of recordings would be needed. The first set would be made in and around the fortress and would serve as the foundation for the themes of imprisonment and death. The second set would feature eighteen male voices speaking in the languages of the laborers originating from the following countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, ex-Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, and ex-Yugoslavia. I made these recordings in Brussels at embassies and private homes where speakers extemporaneously read texts of their choice regarding World War II or their culture.
Mimoyecques uses several excerpts of text including those by: Hans Christian Andersen (Danmark, mit Fædreland), Danilo Dolci (Poema Umano), Annette von Droste-Hülshoff (Der Todesengel), Alexander Pushkin (Руслан и Людмила (Ruslan and Ludmila)), David Baltuch (Noir; Yeled), Väinö Linna(Tuntematon Sotilas), Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (Ja, vi elsker dette landet), Amir Gilboa (וְאָחִי שׁוֹתֵק (Ve-aḥi shotek; And My Brother is Silent)), and Czesław Miłosz (Dziecię Europy (Child of Europe)).
Mimoyecques was realized in 1994 at the Métamorphoses d’Orphée studio of Musiques & Recherches in Ohain (Belgium) and was premiered on June 4, 1994 during the Hommage: Manifestation d’art international revisité 1944-1994 held at the site of the Fortress of Mimoyecques to mark the 50th anniversary of its destruction. The piece was commissioned by Zjuul Devens and Jozef Moerloos for a multimedia installation that honored all the victims as well as the ones of all wars. Thanks to David Baltuch, Gianni Baronio, Anne-Cécile Brandenberger, Jean Brandenberger, Jacek Bukowski, Gust Cools, László Czejdy, Rabbi Albert Dahan, Zjuul Devens, Alexis Gorodetsky, Philippe Guillemin, Vesa Liikanen, Milenko Miljenović, Jozef Moerloos, Michael Moscovici, Georgius Papageorgiu, lieutenant colonel Petr Pavel, Grazia Previdi, Marc Rochtus, Alex Schrager, Knut Sverre (ambassador for Norway), Ivan Tritchkov, Mr Trolle, Mario Van den Berg, Annette Vande Gorne, Marie-Madeleine Vasseur, Musiques & Recherches, Phiam-Phicom, and the embassies of Bulgaria, ex-Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, and ex-Yugoslavia. Mimoyecques was awarded an Honorary Mention at the Concurso Internacional de Música Eletroacústica de São Paulo (CIMESP ’95, Brazil).