[…] We’ve all becomes so conditioned by modern recording techniques and by broadcasting//everybody’s afraid to put a foot wrong. You see, these days, if you’re going to have a record which is going to be played many times then a simple thing which didn’t fit terribly well on one occasion wouldn’t matter, but on repeated hearings it’s going to jar like anything. So, we are all inhibited by recording into playing something which is set and perfect and therefore the element of chance - and after all there is always the chance that things won’t come off - has been neglected. And this is totally at variance with the whole spirit of the baroque.
I’m not at all sure that recording is useful for anything more than reference. You have to react to the conditions of the performance - the actual circumstances. You play differently in a different hall. the acoustics make a difference. The instrument makes a tremendous difference. You may be feeling more - I don’t know - you may be feeling more worked up on this occasion - you feel something brighter is needed. You go into the music in a kind of - unbuttoned way, and if you play something which doesn’t fit absolutely perfectly, well, it doesn’t matter too much. You’ve really got be on your toes, to be alert to do something which occurs to you which may seen a good idea, and be prepared also to find that it doesn’t absolutely work. But it wouldn’t matter because then the thing is alive, it’s got some vitality in it.
musician Lionel Salter (extract from an interview printed in Derek Bailey’s ‘Improvisation: its Nature and Practice in Music)