<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Balkan Organ Carnival - Grunistan
  London Gypsy Orchestra




One Day in Grunistan

A micro-symphony by Gundula Gruen

for Church Organ, Gypsy Orchestra and Steel Pan


Grunistan is Gundula’s invented country: an imaginary place of colour, creativity and honesty. The composition features eight short movements, illustrating the goings-on of one day in Grunistan.

Around 25 years ago Gundula played the church organ herself, and she has always been in awe of this powerful instrument, which can express ‘the devils and angels simultaneously’. The steel pan’s bright and lively energy turns this unusual line-up into a wholesome constellation.

One Day in Grunistan combines Balkan rhythms, Calypso energy, Bavarian bravery, and both sweet and dirty organ sounds. Simple folk structures go hand-in-hand with experimental harmonisation and baroque counterpoint, resulting in a 25-minute long piece made up of 8 micro-movements.

The Story of Grunistan:

1 – Intro:  The sun is rising over the roofs of Grunistan. A rubato introduction of the main instruments, setting the scene for the day.

2 - A Grumpy Morning : The night before might have been slightly wild, so upon waking up, our Grunistan people take their time to get into gear. A heavy 2/4 movement for the tutti orchestra.

3 - Turkish Coffee : To start the day properly, some Turkish coffee in one’s veins will help. The movement starts in a minor key with a bubbly 9/8 rhythm. Some rhythmical ‘kicks’ take us to a brighter mode of hijaz, before the movement ends in a sweet major, ready for the day ahead.


4 - Morning Chores : People go about their daily routines, which are expressed in a Bavarian Landler-type rondo theme. The first scene that catches our attention is a stubborn donkey on the way to the market. At the market square, a serious announcement from the Mayor of Grunistan makes the peoples chatter and gossip, before returning to their routines.


5 – Siesta:  After a morning such as this, one needs a nice lunch break to be happy. This movement comprises of a calm 7/8, violin and organ solo, to which the flute adds a couple of sweet little dreams…

6 - Busy Afternoon:  This movement is based on the traditional Romanian dance ‘Bringing in the Sheep’, which Gundula was taught many years ago by Taraf du Haidouks violinist, ‘Caliu’.

7 - Tea Time:  After clattering plates when setting the table, a ‘multi-layered stew’ in the form of a 3-part fuga in 7/8 is on the menu for dinner. Spicy cross-rhythms through an overlaid ‘3’ are presented for the main course.

8 - Village Dance : This bouncy movement in 2/4 is one of the national dances of Grunistan, to which the local community likes to jump about when having a good time.

gundula gruen
the soloists