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Ian Messini

Photo reproduced with permission from Andrew Burton

Ian de Massini and the Cambridge Voices are well known to Ely Cathedral for when they come their concert is quickly a sell-out and it is easy to see why. There is no doubt that Ian is a musical genius and it was he who inspired the Cambridge Bachfest last weekend.

The concert on Saturday featured Ian and the Cambridge Voices and with their customary exquisite style they performed a work they had premièred in Ely Cathedral last year: Ian’s arrangement for voices of the slow movement from Bach’s ‘Double Violin Concerto’. The words chosen to be sung to this usually instrumental work were from John Milton’s paraphrase of Psalm 55: ‘Oh Lord, had I the wings of a dove’.

They were indeed most fitting for the familiar musical lines and the amazing skill of composer, arranger and singers left the audience in awe

This work was an excellent example to represent the whole concert. Each member of the vocal ensemble was proficient as a soloist and together they formed a formidable group. Their tone, projection, expressive intuition and empathy for the needs of the works they sang made this a rare event. The works often astutely and sensitively arranged by Ian included motets and chorales by Bach and songs by Schemelli.

Interspersed between the vocal numbers were short delights played on a prized century old piano by Ian including a two-part invention, preludes and number seven of ‘The Goldberg Variations’. Ian’s informed enthusiasm brought the whole concert alive for not only did he perform with real musical spirit and awareness and gave us a fascinating commentary, he set himself astounding challenges, filling in a part that was missing after the singer had had to retire through ill health and playing his interpretation of the great Chaconne in D minor using his right hand only. Amazing!

This was indeed a highly uplifting and inspired concert and if you ever notice that Ian is presenting an event in the future you are advised to book your tickets early for we are very fortunate to have such a talented genius and his exquisite choir in our midst.

EDITOR: If you live in the Cambridge area and would like a free ticket to a performance, in return for offering Rosemary a lift, please email me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I will let Rosemary know.

Meet The Author...
Rosemary Westwell
Who Am I?

Australian-born teacher and writer Dr Rosemary Westwell (PhD, MA Ed, MA TESOL, B Mus. BA Hons) lives in Cambridgeshire, England. She completed her PhD in 2007 on ‘The Development of Language Acquisition in a Mature Learner’ ( available free on: She writes a column for the Ely Standard, directs a ladies’ choir (‘The Isle Singers’)  and is a member of her local council.

Her husband suffers from dementia and is in a care home. They have two daughters and six children who live in the UK.

Other publications, including ‘Twenty Tips for Teaching IGCSE ESL’, ‘Teaching Language Learners’ and her novels ‘John, Dementia and Me’ and ‘John’s Shadow’ which are  available on

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