Cranleigh Decorative
& Fine Arts Society


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Christmas Gathering

7thDecember 2011

Cranleigh's Decorative and Fine Arts Society took little time to live up to its name: the ladies looked decorative and four sheets of paper on each table showed mini details of 24 works of fine art. We had to state both artist and name of work. Could we tell a Titian from a Velasquez or a Dali and from a Hockney? Giving the name 'Euston Station' to Turner's 'Rain, Steam and Speed' did not earn a point! Two tables shared first place with 37 out of 48.

Before we knew the results good food and Merlot were happily consumed. Good portions of guinea fowl ensured that the spiced plum pudding provided a challenge to those, like me, who chose both.

There followed too the result of the raffle, appropriately in aid of future Young Arts projects. The Chairman's wife in one moment lost a generation when she won a Junior tennis racquet!

The evening was billed as a Musical Soiree and we were not disappointed. The renowned trumpeter Crispian Steele-Perkins, accompanied by Leslie Pearson, spoke with charm and wit. We learnt that two trumpets were buried with Tutankamun. An early Mozart minuet was played on a coach horn. We had military fanfares too before Crispian played, with wonderful precision, music from Handelian baroque to Gershwin and Glenn Miller. Explaining that he owns over 160 trumpets, many of which he has restored, he brought examples ranging from an animal's horn to a trumpet made in New York in 1930. A piece of hosepipe did its duty too!

A trumpet's note, amplified by the tubing, is varied by the speed the player vibrates his lips. The longer the tubing the more notes can be included. Crispin played an extract from Handel's Water Music on an instrument that was long, straight and without valves. Its tone was surprisingly soft, thanks to the skill which has made Crispin a popular accompanist among singers.

The first audience ever to listen to Haydn's famous Trumpet Concerto would have been amazed at what they heard. Because the player used a newly developed instrument with four keys he could perform for the first time a chromatic scale. Crispian demonstrated by playing the last movement in full, even using a moment's pause to blow out a candle that was starting a mini fire on an adjacent table!

Crispin and Leslie brought a superb evening to a close with a masterly rendition of Glenn Miller tunes. Our Chairman thanked Crispin for "his stunning gift of communication", and led the applause for the staff who had looked after us so well.

Mike Payne

These photos give some idea of the festive pleasure the evening brought to everyone present.