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Indra Hughes

 

 

Vivaldi's The Four Seasons with soloist James Ehnes and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra

9 October 2010

by William Dart (New Zealand Herald)

... There were many memorable moments...with the Canadian in tuneful tandem with Indra Hughes on harpsichord and the orchestra's guest principal cellist, Yoel Cantori. When Autumn came along, there was even more enchantment from Ehnes and his continuo team...

Read the full review here.

Purcell Trio Sonatas

13 July 2010

by William Dart (New Zealand Herald)

...Particularly riveting was the flamboyant sweep of Hughes' harpsichord introducing the women's voices ... Hughes' continuo work was a joy was a joy and a stylish anchor...

Read the full review here.

The Opening of the new Auckland Town Hall Organ

21 March 2010

by William Dart (New Zealand Herald)

Read the review here.

Handel's Guilio Cesare

13 December 2007

by William Dart (New Zealand Herald)

…Indra Hughes' fluent harpsichord was never at a loss for rivulets of sparkling sound…

Read the full review here on the Herald's web site.

Going for Baroque

New Zealand Listener, 15-21 December 2007
Vol 211 No 3527, page 42

"Auckland’s most recent and most surprising musical obsession is the Baroque"

a review and preview of various early music performances in Auckland

by Rod Biss

[The article opens with a review of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra's 3-week "Splendour of the Baroque" concert series, directed by Roy Goodman]
…it remained a fact that the APO was unable to let us hear the real splendour of the early Baroque. This was left for Musica Sacra directed by Indra Hughes, who brought New Zealand's only theorbo (bass lute) and its player, Jonathan Le Cocq, up from Christchurch. With a handful of strings and John Wells playing the beautiful chamber organ, St Matthew-in-the-City sounded as if it had become St Marks in Venice. It is a sound unlike any other, highly coloured yet clear and emotionally extravagant. The choir tackled the difficulties of Monteverdi's Missa In Illo Tempore fearlessly. The instrumental accompaniments had the genuine fluidity of the early Baroque, the sort of improvisatory embellishment of the harmonies that good jazz players know more about than symphony orchestra players. […]
[The article then goes on to preview four upcoming performances by other groups.]

Click here to read the full article.

Concert of music by Monteverdi

15 November 2007; New Zealand Herald, page B6

by William Dart

Sacred musicians weave a mass of sonic sculptures

Choral style employed to produce memorable effect

Indra Hughes led the audience on a rare, remarkable aural odyssey

Musica Sacra has built up a loyal audience for its disciplined and imaginative choral singing and a solid attendance at Sunday afternoon's Monteverdi concert was thoroughly deserved. Basing the programme around the Italian composer's Missa in Illo Tempore, with its movements punctuated by various motets and other settings, Indra Hughes provided an intriguing toe-dip into music that gets scant attention in this country. The Mass was at its strongest in the Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei sections, in which the singers created an enchanting weave of sound, the Sanctus almost mesmerising in its waves of glorious vocalising. The Gloria and Credo were more testing. In the first, despite no shortage of energy, solo voices sometimes jarred when they emerged from the choral texture. The Credo had its tentative moments and patches where tone was not so scrupulously sustained, although Hughes made the most of the movement's dramatic potential, especially in the hushed Et incarnatus est. The shorter Monteverdi pieces ranged from a robust Cantate Domino and a full-blooded Adoramus te, Christe in which the choir acquitted itself most creditably. A sprightly Beatus Vir ended the afternoon with buoyant, dancing rhythms and graceful instrumental interludes of the sort that charm you endlessly in Monteverdi's opera, Orfeo. If there were moments when various groupings within the choir came through unevenly, it did not detract from the effect of the whole. A small instrumental group led by Rosana Fea made a welcome contribution, clustered around John Wells on the liquid-toned Donald Barriball Memorial Chamber organ. The delights of Jonathan Le Cocq's theorbo, an exotic instrument like a giant lute, were as much sculptural as musical, although its delicate wash of sonorities contributed much feeling. Finally, all praise is due to Wells' crisp and finely-shaded organ solos that gave a richer historical setting for the Monteverdi we were hearing. Improvisatory preludes by the two Gabrielis, uncle and nephew, were like olde improv rambles to lose oneself in. A Merulo Toccata and a Sweelinck Fantasia Chromatica were daring, forward-looking pieces, while a Cavazzoni Ricercar revealed the seeds from which mighty Bach fugues would eventually grow.

click here for a scan of the review

MENDELSSOHN'S ELIJAH

September 2007

by WILLIAM DART (New Zealand Herald)

Abridged - read the full review here on the Herald's web site.

From the moment Teddy Tahu Rhodes let forth with As God the Lord of Israel liveth, it was clear that the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra's Elijah would be an evening to remember. Conductor Paul Mann was determined to deliver Mendelssohn's oratorio as edge-of-the-seat drama and when the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus made its first plea for divine intervention, many spines must have tingled. The strong men's voices were particularly appreciated. The sopranos were not always comfortable in their upper register. […] Auckland will not experience the likes of this performance for some years.

One could sense Paul Mann's total involvement with Mendelssohn's theatrical confrontations of Good and Evil, putting a swing into Be not afraid and risking satiation in the choral sumptuousness of it all. He may not have had the 396 musicians that Mendelssohn conducted in 1846 but, in the grander moments, with the APO playing its heart out and Indra Hughes brewing up mighty sounds on the town hall organ, one could believe he did.

International Record Review (London) - June 2005
Review by Marc Rochester  (Reviewing Musica Sacra's second CD recording)

slightly edited - the full review can be see at at Musica Sacra's website.

Musica Sacra is an Auckland-based choir whose reputation has yet to spread far beyond its native New Zealand. With the international release of this, its second CD, that should change, for this is an exceptional disc. Indra Hughes draws from these 31 singers a sound which has none of the pretentiousness or false enthusiasm of so many similar choirs from other English-speaking countries but rather possesses a certain earthiness vaguely reminiscent of those folk-music groups in the 1970s and 1980s. The individual quality of each voice is preserved and, as a result, the blend is natural rather than created by any self-imposed 'tone'. This is not particularly refined singing but has a naturalness and openness which conveys with real conviction the essence of these four, rare works.

There are inescapable weaknesses in ensemble between the voices and their instrumental support, and the technical limitations of some of the singers are cruelly exposed in Scarlatti's Stabat mater, but while at first it seems somewhat tired and overstretched, Hughes has a visionary approach which transcends such failings. With ten distinct solo voices revelling in their individuality there is a tangible feeling of intimacy and directness of expression which culminates in a magically translucent 'Amen'.

[...] Once again, there is no doubt that it is the unimpeachable quality of Musica Sacra's performances which makes these works so memorable. For this intriguing programme alone this is a 'must-have' disc: with such distinct and compelling singing it stands as one of the most impressive choral discs I've heard for a very long time.

GOLDBERG VARIATIONS
Indra Hughes at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

By WILLIAM DART (New Zealand Herald)

The occasion had all the makings of a post-Halloween treat. Lightning was flashing through the stained-glass windows of the Holy Sepulchre and there, on the Powerpoint screen before us, was the leering face of Hannibal Lecter.

The connection with Bach's Goldberg Variations, Indra Hughes informed us in a whimsical aside during his pre-concert talk, was that Bach's theme happened to be one of Lecter's favourite pieces of dinner music.

The voluble Hughes chatted through his theories on how the work got its name (a reward of gold coins rather than having anything to do with a court harpsichordist named Goldberg). And he justified playing the piece on an organ - "Why not?"

After enough numerological tallying to make my non-mathematical brain fret, and some generous interval libations, we were primed for experiencing this Bachian monument.
Monumental it was, too, with most of the repeats being observed, although Hughes' interpretation was fairly kosher alongside jazzman Uri Caine's deconstruction of the piece, or any of the Glenn Gould piano recordings.

The occasional untidiness - after all, this was something of a first run for the organist - didn't detract from the overall performance with its welcoming, leisurely pacings and crisp ornamentation. The 106-year old Brindley and Foster organ is a beauty. The flute stops in Variation 7 made me wonder if there were some hardy songbirds braving the thunderstorm outside, while Variation 21 was appropriately tremulous. Variation 19 bubbled away like a self-possessed music box, and the French Overture of Variation 16 was suitably grand.
Occasionally the organ left one wanting a little more skip in the step, Variation 20 being a particular case in point.

And when it came to the languorous Black Pearl (Variation 25) one longed for the tonal expressivity and subtlety of the piano.

This well-patronised event happened through the initiative of a new organisation, Kokako Concerts, which has recently been giving many young musicians the chance to perform. Kokako is branching out: among plans for next year is the New Zealand premiere of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Grand Duke.

And if you missed Hughes' Goldberg experience this time round, there's always next year's touring show.

"At last, organ music for the masses"
Rod Biss in the Sunday Star-Times

There's no escaping from Indra Hughes. Last Sunday at 10.30am in the supermarket carpark I switched on the car radio and there he was talking to a philosophy professor about melancholy in music and persuading me to listen to an astounding piece by Herbert Howells. It was great broadcasting - lively, friendly and provocative; Hughes' virtues are his fluency and the conviction of his opinions. I've sent a memo to myself not to miss the next nine programmes of his Music Matters (Concert FM, Sundays at 10am). He's everywhere; launching his latest CD, giving organ recitals, even peering gloomily out of an organ loft on a whole page of the Listener. He's treating the once dignified world of organs and church music as though it were mass-market entertainment and that can only promote a genre of music too often kept in its own watertight compartment.

Waikato Times, The Art of Fugue (St Paul's Collegiate School Chapel, Hamilton) reviewed by Andrew Buchanan-Smart

There are performances of great works that inspire and Indra Hughes gave one of those performances with one of the great baroque masterpieces, Bach's The art of Fugue. Widely recognised as one of New Zealand's most distinguished organists he did not disappoint. A very well prepared and in depth pre-concert talk presented by Hughes gave the audience the ability to understand the complexities of the fugues. This could only enhance the appreciation of the works both intellectually and musically, revealing much of the structure and symmetry, demonstrating the inevitable logic of the work and the mathematical genius that created it.
Hughes articulated the complex counterpoint with ease and brought out the transformational connections with clarity. One of the defining features was the depth of feeling sustained throughout with a clear focus and effective colouring. Another was the considerable flair and sense of movement or impetus that propelled the work forward. Of the 14 Contrapuncti or fugues only the inversus in the second mirror fugue was omitted and the final Contrapunctus, the piece bach was working on when he died, breaks off abruptly at bar 239 in the score, which is where Hughes wisely finished.

"Dramatic, poignant testament": Harry Brown in the New Plymouth newspaper reviewing The Art of Fugue at St Mary's Pro-Cathedral, New Plymouth.

Yesterday's lecture/recital in St Mary's by Indra Hughes on Bach's The Art of Fugue went all the way in demonstrating Bach's contrapuntal skills; genius at work varying a chosen theme in a myriad of ways; dividing and multiplying, mutating then transforming a musical idea. Indra Hughes, Auckland organist, lecturer, broadcaster and musician par excellence, is such a compelling speaker, dull methods took sparkle from his words as he demonstrated inversion, rhythmic stylistic and emotional changes, overlapping, interlocking and mirror patterns. There was humour too. And we were privileged to gaze at an m/s copy of the last page of Bach's musical life; indeed, his final, unfinished bar. An awe-inspiring moment. The came a complete performance of the 14 fugues played on the St Mary's organ. Fourteen fugues that built from the solid, sonorous nobility of the "simple" fugues through the increasingly complex and massive climaxes of the stretto and mirror works to the final masterwork and the dramatic moment when, full organ in all its glory, the music stopped dead. Bach had breathed his last. Dramatic, poignant, it was a fine testament to a great work. As Hughes played, the organ shook the venerable floorboards and pews. The Art of Fugue has been described as "a wonderful outpouring of a brilliant musical mind". Yesterday's playing was a wonderful outpouring of a brilliant recitalist.

Hawkes Bay Today (Napier):Review by Peter Williams
"Fugue shows astonishing genius of J S Bach"

Opinions vary among musicians as to who was the greatest composer. Many will claim that Beethoven deserves that accolade and that Mozart was the greatest natural genius. No-one in the audience at this recital, however, would have gone away with any doubt that the astonishing level of sheer musical intelligence of the great J S Bach shown in this music, sets him apart as the greatest in intellectual terms. This recital provided a rare opportunity to hear a unique composition. The Art of Fugue, regarded as the last word on counterpoint and fugue, is a collection of 14 fugues, all on the same subject and in the same key. The audience, by means of a pre-recital lecture which made telling use of modern technology, became aware that this theme, a little more than four bars in length, conceals within itself the most astonishing musical and mathematical possibilities. The insights shown by Indra Hughes illuminated a work, which, because of its rare performances, is hidden in mystery and known mainly by name only. Indra Hughes is a splendid teacher as well as a highly accomplished and perceptive musician and one who loves deeply the music of the Leipzig master. He guided the audience through the complexities and intricacies of this great music by means of lucid explanations that brought the music alive and heightened the expectations of the audience, even before the music was played. The performance was just as riveting as the spoken word, with the same perceptive approach to the myriad technical problems with which every page of the score abounds. Despite the complex writing and the countless permutations of the theme, the playing was often marked by remarkable clarity, and the overall structure of each fugue was clearly defined. The performance was always intensely musical. The nobility of the first and second fugues was balanced by the delicate treatment of the third. There were similar contrasts throughout the performance with a highlight being the gentle flow and ethereal balance of fugue No 12 with its mirrored second section. Throughout the recital the extensive resources of the cathedral organ were exploited to the full, but nowhere more than in the final fugue. The dramatic and abrupt ending, and the long silence which followed, showed that the audience knew they had been part of a rare and unique experience.

The Dominion Post (Wellington): review by Lindis Taylor
"Remarkable concert of Bach's fugues"

When Indra Hughes played Bach's monumental last work, The Art of Fugue, in Auckland in 2000, the 250th anniversary of Bach's death, it was a sellout. Smaller venue perhaps, but also because of Hughes's high profile in Auckland as organist, conductor, teacher and lecturer . . . Though the small audience in St Paul's Cathedral suggests that his talents are less well-known here, the evening was a remarkable one. Promoted by an imaginative new Auckland concert group, Kokako Concerts, Indra Hughes took almost an hour with an illustrated talk about the work, using computer images and playing key elements at the piano. He moved through all 14 of the fugues discussing Bach's fascination with numerology and the symbolism of musical notation and the problems and possible explanations of and solutions proposed for its performance. For The Art of Fugue is scored in a neutral way, with no instruments indicated, and Bach died before finishing the mighty final part which even so is his longest and most noble fugue. Hughes succeeded in convincing the audience that the work is much more than an academic exercise. The clinching argument came after Hughes climbed up to the organ console to play the hour and a quarter-long work. It was a revelatory experience: knowing the work from recordings . . . is no substitute for the living thing. The surpassing difficulties of No 11 and the last - No 14 - were not discounted, but their audible fearfulness, and the overwhelming momentum that this outpouring of a great musical mind generates, made great drama. Among the many strengths of this performance was the marvellous quiet of certain sections, particularly the mirror fugues, offering ethereal contrasts to the vigour and drama of such as Contrapunctus 7 and 11. Yet nothing surpassed the awe-inspiring tension that builds as the music approaches the point when Bach died, where the final fugue was about to reach its peak of complexity and emotional power.

Indra Hughes, The Art of Fugue, St Sepulchre's Khyber Pass, Friday 24/11/00: review by Dr John Wells, Organist to the City of Auckland and Auckland University Organist:

'Hats off, gentleman, a genius' is the only appropriate response to this evening's astonishing recital. Are we commenting on Bach or Indra Hughes, the inspiration behind the composing of the 'Art of Fugue' or the extraordinary vision of performing it entire at such an odd time on such an odd choice of organ? All, and in whichever order you please.

I have personally never attended any organ recital anywhere in the world to be told that there were no more chairs and no more programmes. As a point of interest, has it ever happened at an organ recital in NZ before? As a late comer (performing in a Proms concert in the Town Hall, several light-years away from St Sep's), the sight of that packed church, with its dim lighting, the piccy of old man Sebastian highlighted in the front and the music itself has made an impression on me that will last a very long time indeed.

An enormous amount of credit goes to Indra Hughes for his technical skill, musicianship and the sheer boldness of putting on such a unique concert, not to mention the stamina needed for the execution of the music. Even my old vicar seemed sated with counterpoint and he's a sucker for it, I can tell you. There they all were, soaking in countersubjects, inversions, stretti, diminution, mirror fugues, invertible counterpoint. Curiosity, I thought, just aural voyeurism; give 'em a chance, a break, a leg stretch, and they'll be off down the road before you can say 'fugue'. There was a break, and one or two people did leave. I was right by the door (late, remember?); I think it was two.

What of the organ? Bruce Thompson has led the way with an enormous amount of care and restoration, much of it a labour of love and not yet finished. Is it a 'Bach organ'? Nothing further from that could be imagined! Yet the counterpoint came over with clarity and good rhythmic drive. Was it all dry and academic? This organist, not the most shy of Auckland musicians, plays with passion! He shapes the phrases and lingers over points of contrapuntal and harmonic tension. (I shall be doing myself out of a job soon. Let's just say it wasn't bad for an Oxford man.)

Rather, let's say 'Well done' and 'Bravo'. Let's all go 'Groan' at the person who started the applause so prematurely and broke one of the most extraordinarily intense silences I can remember in any concert, when the music - just stopped. Well, there weren't any more notes, were there? Striking up a chorus of 'For he's a jolly good fellow' wouldn't have been very appropriate, either.

This wasn't just any concert; this was very special.

So, to an intriguing footnote. There are still a few corners in the sardine tin not quite picked clean, a few numbers which really need two players and the odd missing canon. Is the time ripe for a 'complete entire' performance? Whatever, this was a mould-breaking occasion, a musical event which exceeded the organisers' expectations by a large factor, and which shows that the spell of Bach's music, good, meaty, stimulating, satisfying music - the spell is as powerful as ever. I doubt if I would have dared do it. Thanks, Indra, for pushing back the boundaries and showing us something new and very precious.

BRAVISSIMO, INDRA HUGHES AND JSB!
Review by Peter Gilmour, President of the Auckland Organists' Association:

Last night, 24 November, Indra Hughes struck a great blow for the organ in Auckland with his wonderfully successful concert presentation of Bach's little-heard Art of Fugue.
Anyone who had a month earlier predicted that a late evening playing of this reputedly very academic work would have had Holy Sepulchre Church filled to overflowing with paying customers and end with a standing ovation, would surely have been considered wildly optimistic. But that is what happened and it must have been hugely rewarding for the performer who had clearly worked immensely hard preparing the work to such a high standard.

The evening certainly demonstrated the power of a brilliant creative idea. Organ concerts do not typically take place late-ish on Friday night, they do not focus entirely on one little known work and they do not feature an all-fugue programme without leavening of lollipops. This one did and it succeeded beyond, I suspect, the wildest dreams of the organisers. The musical public of Auckland, including many AOA members, voted with their feet and showed up in their hundreds.

For the listener, the idea of sitting down to a programme of 14 fugues is a daunting one. But that does not allow for the musical genius of Bach. Once the music was underway, it proved impossible to worry about whether each particular piece was a stretto or inverted or mirror fugue. One just became immersed in this great music, persuasively played. It was my first hearing and it will not be the last.

Our warm congratulations and thanks are due to Indra and his team for conceiving this great concept, Bach's last work in the anniversary year of his death, and for their courage and initiative in implementing it.

Here follow some older reviews:

". . . Hughes' enthusiasm seems boundless. The 26-year old hails from the English cathedral tradition . . ." (preview of inaugural recital, New Zealand Herald, 29/11/95)
"Programme and performance were wonderful . . . the best of the series by far" (St Matthew's Festival, 25/9/97)

". . . an absorbing performance in which soloist Indra Hughes' playing was delightfully crisp and rhythmic . . ." (Prof. Heath Lees in the NZ Herald, Handel Organ Concerto with Auckland Sinfonietta, 3/11/97)

". . . a sizeable and expectant audience was not disappointed. Indra Hughes had not only assembled at very short notice an interesting and imaginative programme, which was very well played, but his comments between items demonstrated that he was able to communicate and inform easily . . . finely articulated . . . attention to detail, carefully graduated registration . . . beautiful ornamentation. The whole had the inevitability that is the hallmark of fine playing. The quality and standard of playing at the Town Hall Recitals in recent months has been of a very high order and Indra Hughes enhances this tradition." (Auckland Town Hall recital, August 1995, reviewed in the Auckland Organists' Association Newsletter)

"I have heard the famous Toccata many times but never with such controlled vigour as was shown on Saturday evening" (Widor's Vth Symphony, Auckland Cathedral 2/8/97)

". . . another splendid recital. The Bach was great. The Wagner was powerfully moving. The Widor was glorious - the programme notes pointed out some things about the structure of the Symphony which I had not bothered to notice previously . . . a mighty programme in a splendid environment!" (Recital 2 August 1997, Auckland Cathedral)

". . . underneath were the everlasting arms of a beautifully judged organ continuo part from the Cathedral's organist Indra Hughes" (Prof. H. Lees in the NZ Herald, 4/10/97, Mozart Requiem with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra)

". . . both choir and orchestra provided a quality of playing that was consistently satisfying . . . the choir captured a rich sense of wonder . . . an unforced but luminous interpretation . . . Indra Hughes has brought new life to the Cathedral Choir." (Prof. Heath Lees in the NZ Herald, 8/12/97, Christmas Concert with the Cathedral Choir and the Auckland Sinfonietta)
". . . the arrival at the Cathedral of the energetic Indra Hughes has resurrected frequent concert-giving . . ." (NZ Herald, 25 July 1998)

" . . . this has been a great week for organists in Wellington . . . Hughes proved a distinguished player . . . interesting and entertaining. He made the organ speak out impressively." (Lindis Taylor in the Wellington Evening Post, 13/7/98, recital for the Cathedral Festival of the Arts at the opening of the completed Wellington Cathedral)

"A fine recital" (Philip Walsh, organist of Wellington Cathedral, commenting on Concert FM on the above recital)

"Hughes provided a magnificent organ accompaniment, exploiting the full range of tonal possibilities of the beautiful All Saints organ." (Manawatu Evening Standard, Haydn's "Creation" (organ only) for the Palmerston North Choral Society, 21/11/98)

"In Parnell, the Anglicans have pleaded lack of money and axed their excellent music director Indra Hughes, who was brought over specially from England for a job which suddenly vanished (despite the fact that the cathedral's musical activity had rocketed to a new pitch)". (Prof. H Lees, NZ Herald, 14 November 1998)

"Cathedral insiders described Mr Hughes as a demanding choirmaster, who had put Holy Trinity Cathedral on the international map of church music." (NZ Herald, 7 September 1998)
"I have enjoyed working with Indra. He has brought an enormous amount to the cathedral, and I was expecting to do exciting work with him in the future." (The Dean of Auckland, in the NZ Herald, September 1998)

"The number of people attending {Musica Sacra's} inaugural concert and the warmth of their response must be proof of the conductor's pulling power . . . an assured account of the old German carol In dulci jubilo . . . it was clear that everyone was enjoying themselves . . . there was a disciplined approach . . . plenty of enthusiasm and joie de vivre." (Tara Werner in the New Zealand Herald, December 1998)

"Indra Hughes has abundant technical ability . . . a beautifully judged performance . . . excellent use of the organ's tonal palette was evident . . . a good sense of style and articulation. Mr Hughes gave a delightful commentary on the repertoire in a relaxed and informal manner." (Martin Ryman in the Wanganui Chronicle, Recital at St Paul's Church, Wanganui, 17/1/99)

"The piano accompanists Irina Cherkassky, Claire Caldwell, Indra Hughes and Frances Wilson were outstanding . . . in particular The Turn of the Screw by Britten (played by Indra Hughes) leapt to life." (David Charteris in the Wanganui Chronicle, 26/1/99: final concert of the New Zealand Opera Training School, Wanganui Opera House)

"Musica Sacra . . . has gained a dedicated following already, as evidenced by a packed St Michael's Church on Saturday night. Scarlatti's complex Stabat Mater tested their discipline fully . . . Allegri's famous Miserere received a sensitive interpretation . . ." (Tara Werner in the New Zealand Herald, March 1999)

"Treat for Concert-goers": "The return visit to Wanganui of Simon Christie, bass-baritone, and Indra Hughes, piano . . . was a scoop for local concert-goers . . . Indra's contribution as accompanist was impeccable, setting the right tone with introductions and gift-wrapping many of the items with an ending that held the audience spellbound until the last vibration had died away. (Wanganui Chronicle, 7 June 1999)

"English pianist Indra Hughes's . . . contribution was full of character yet subtly supportive" (Wellington Evening Post, 10 June 1999)

" . . . This song also particularly highlighted the superlative technical prowess and interpretive insight of Indra Hughes. His accompaniments throughout the recital were unfailingly appropriate. In Bellini's beautifully aria 'Vi Ravviso O Luoghi Ameni' elegant piano arpeggios enhanced the sensuous vocal line. In Ireland's 'The Bells of San Marie' the stage was set by the perfectly judged placement of impressionistic chords. In Mozart's 'Catalogue Aria' and Lehrer's 'Smut', pianist aided and abetted singer with a suitably indecent relish." (New Zealand Herald, 21 June 1999)

" 'Organist impresses': An appreciative audience was treated last Sunday afternoon to a recital of 20th century romantic English organ music played on the Dunedin Town Hall organ by visiting Auckland organist Indra Hughes . . . Hughes's playing was authoritative, passionate and energetic, displaying solid technique . . . From the use of soft strings and flutes to the grand sounds of the full organ with its rumbling 32ft pipes and percussion section, the recital was under masterly command.." (Otago Daily Times, 10 October 1999)

" . . . Indra Hughes was at the organ, providing discreet support in the way of a secure footing for the singers, and bloom and depth to a reduced but confident orchestra." (New Zealand Herald, 15 November 2000) - Brahms Requiem performed by the Auckland Bach Cantata Society