For our ninth Roman River Festival we indulged in a feast of French music, food, film and culture to celebrate the 10oth anniversary of the birth of the great birdsong-inspired composer Olivier Messiaen.

'What a fabulous festival it was. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.' (2008 Festivalgoer)

Our ambitious programme ranged from the revolutionary 17th century composer Marin Marais (made into a worldwide hit by the film Tous les Matins du Monde) to the great hits of Debussy, Chopin and Messiaen.

The Messiaen Anniversary Concert was magnificent. The musicianship was of exceptional quality and the programme was intriguing and stimulating.

Our congratulations and thanks for providing such delightful events.
(2008 Festivalgoer)

Along with French food and wine, we presented our first ever full song recital by the stunning young soprano Katerina Mina in the candle-lit church, featuring Schumann's wonderful cycle Frauenliebe und -leben, set to peoms by the great French poet Louis Charles Adélaïde de Chamissot.

'the whole festival was brilliant from the marvellous film to the jazz. Katerina Mina was spellbinding - I am sure she will go far. We are so lucky to be able to hear and watch first class musicians in our rural setting ... a wonderful feast'

We added two extra events; a showing of Louis Malle’s enchanting film Milou in Mai, and a concert of the rich, rare and expressive music by the early French composer Marin Marais in East Mersea church.

'Congratulations on a wonderful feast of music. I enjoyed all the events; The film was really great, and we are so lucky to hear such accomplished musicians.'

New performers included our first ever viol player Liam Byrne, the distinguished chamber musicians Simon Blendis and Duncan Prescott, and one of the brightest stars in contemporary jazz Zoe Rahman.

Juliet Jopling returned to the festival to play solo Bach at Abberton Church, and Simon Crawford-Phillips and Kate Gould joined Simon and Duncan to play some of the great works of Debussy, Chopin, Franck and Messiaen.

'All the musicians were a delight, especially the pianist Simon Crawford-Phillips and Juliet Jopling in Abberton Church.'

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