Talking of free-tempo preludes…
Many years ago (indeed, “more years ago than I care to remember”—a new entry in the Flann O’Brien Catechism of Cliché), we were in a London church recording some exquisite medieval instrumental pieces called Estampies. They are said to have spread through Europe by way of the Crusades, and have been recorded by worthier musicians than me, often with Middle Eastern style in mind. I was on rebec (“What does that even mean?”).
Right in the middle of a take, an irate elderly janitor burst in to subject us to a withering tirade, exclaiming:
“Are you gonna give it a rest? It just goes on and on. I mean, it’s not as if there’s any MERIT in it…”
We decided against inviting him to write the liner notes for the CD.