Recording and uncertainty

There's a fantastic piece in the current New Yorker by Jeremy Denk, a classical pianist, on the practical and conceptual complexities of the recording process. The ways in which recording, at the same time as preserving -- ossifying -- a performance, also unsettles and erodes the artist's certainty and purpose:

The most maddening paradox of recording is that what you hear in the playback does not resemble what you're sure you played. You hear two tracks at once: what you desire and what you have produced. Notes dangle before you without their motivations, minus the physical struggle of playing them; my muscles twitch strangely while I listen. The microphone alters my interpretation, inevitably. In subsequent takes, I'm effectively talking back and forth to myself via an electronic ear, trying to find truth by trial and error. There are many places where I am not achieving what I want, others where I realize I don't know precisely what I want.

The full piece is behind an online subscription wall, unfortunately, but he also appears on the magazine's podcast.