Why I Don't Copy Glenn Gould

Question: What influence has Glenn Gould had on you?
\r\nHilda Huang: So with my second teacher, when I was learning all \r\nthe inventions, after I finished and I made just a recording for myself,\r\n she gave me this CD of Glenn Gould and said, "This is Glenn Gould, do \r\nnot copy him." So I went home and listened to it and at first, it was \r\nreally striking because it was so odd and we'd never heard anything like\r\n it. I mean the first invention, when the first couple of notes come in,\r\n it's pretty normal for everybody. But when the second voice comes in, \r\nit was so clear and so, it had such a fire underneath it that it kept \r\nmaking you listen and usually I listen to one piece and not the whole \r\nset. But after this, I listen to all 15 of them at a time instead of \r\njust one of them. And after you listen to all 15 of them, you realize \r\nwhat a genius he is because each one is so unique and they're all so \r\nspecial, but they're all unified and the ideas in each one are so \r\npeculiar and sometimes you're kind of wondering, "Wait, why does he even\r\n do that. It sounds not quite right."
\r\nAnd after listening to that, I gave the CD back to my teacher. And she's\r\n like; you didn't copy him, right? I said, no I didn't copy him and \r\nshe's like okay, good.
\r\nQuestion: What was the music on that first CD?

\r\nHilda Huang: The first CD was the two part inventions that my \r\npiano teacher gave to me. She loaned it to me. Then I went home and I \r\nbought it. And my mom bought it off of Amazon I think. We listened to \r\nit, loved listening to it, so we found more of his recordings and the \r\nmost famous one is the Goldberg Variations. So we bought both the 1955 \r\nand the 1981. We also bought the suites, the Partitas, the English \r\nsuites, the French suites. And I think just a couple of years ago, just \r\ntwo years ago I think, there was a LP boxed Glenn Gould memorial set or \r\nsomething like that, I think celebrating his 25th anniversary of his \r\ndeath and so we bought the whole thing. It was $200, but now I have a \r\nbig box in my bedroom with 80 Glenn Gould CDs in it and a nice thick \r\nbooklet with his own writing on each one of those CDs.
\r\nQuestion: What did your teacher mean, don’t copy him?

\r\nHilda Huang: I think she was kind of intrigued by his unique \r\ninterpretations. Of course, if I tried to copy him, it would not be very\r\n good. But I think she just didn't want me to play that out of the box, \r\nbecause his interpretations at that time, to her I think, were really \r\ncrazy and I think some of them were a bit unacceptable. But she just \r\nwanted me to listen to them so I could see how other people played it.
\r\nRecorded on June 7, 2010
\r\nInterviewed by Paul Hoffman

The late, great pianist is Huang’s favorite, but if she tried to mimic his daring interpretations, "it would not be very good," she says.

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