Once again, a look at what J. S. Bach, and particularly the Fantasia and Fugue in A minor, has to say about writing. If you’ll remember, last time we looked at suspense. This time, we’re looking at surprise.
After I made this video, I discovered that playing a nine-minute piece at a professional level required a bit more practice than a full-time editor has time for. So here is Ton Koopman, one of the foremost performers of Bach’s organ music, playing the piece. The organ he’s using, by the way, is one of the great surviving historic organs — the instrument in the Martinikerk in Groningen, the Netherlands. It was modernized by the builder Arp Schnitger, probably in the 1690’s, but some of the pipework dates back to 1450.
Again, how do your favorite writers manage surprise? I could actually have done another five minutes on how Agatha Christie does it by confounding expectations of the genre. Feel free to elaborate in the comments.