Flights of Fancy, Inspired by a Genius’s Soul…
Flight No. 1: The Launch
This is a Shakespir edition 2017
Copyright August 2017
Westminster & York, Ltd.
ISBN 978 1 3706 1767 8
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[A flight of fancy is just that – a scribbling born of imagined beauty, brought forth by the delights of music – a language universal in appeal and reach.
No, I won’t try to be excessively mystical. I won’t lay out thoughts to confuse or impress you with seeming depth. I don’t do that.
Yes, I write what comes to me. But for it to be pleasant to me, it must offer something to others. I hope they’ll say, “I’m glad I experienced that!…”]
This is going to be a series of short ‘mindwaves’ – flights of fancy, I call them – inspired principally by the music and life of J. S. Bach. They are not designed to be deep or complex. Not at all. I hope you’ll see a connection between them and music, and hope you’ll find they offer you the same comfort, satisfaction and calm I get from composing them.
The most sublimely beautiful harmonies have pleased us at one point or another…
We may not know who composed them. We may not have tried to learn the maestro’s identity. But we may have paused as we listened – silently marveling, humming to ourselves, or whistling softly – with our emotions sweeping upwards in a wondrous lifting of our mood…
Sometimes, we’ve made a connection with the music itself, unwilling to let go of this ‘thing’ which has so captured us inwardly. Likely though, we didn’t know precisely what lifted us. Or, we laid the credit for our briefly-soaring feelings at the feet of some other stimulus. Certainly, we felt ‘something’ which moved our inward self to a temporary crest of beauty. It leaves us a wistful longing for that sensation, that ‘thing’ we had once, and at times long to bathe our spirits in again.
I am a huge fan of Bach. As in the composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)…
What shaped this man and his genius?
Well, he did not take half-steps in his life. In two marriages he fathered some twenty children (alas, many of whom died in youth or infancy – the eighteenth century was in some ways a harsh time…). He wrote an enormous outpouring of religiously-inspired music. He was a devout Lutheran, and signed his works with the initials ‘INJ’ – In Nomine Jesu. With a crusty impatience, he taught students the art of music.
His faith-inspired music is almost without limit, deep and profound. Yet he has written some of the most joyous musical gemstones, some just for his own practice, or for warming up his fingers at the pipe organ on a frosty winter’s morning…
He produced secular compositions now recognized as masters of their genre. He was – and is – recognized as one of the finest composers of the art of the fugue the world has known.
Not familiar with what a fugue is?…
It’s a wonderful way of starting a melody, then starting that same melody again several bars later, alongside the initial theme. When well done, this provides a marvelously harmonious counterpoint. You’d be surprised at how beautiful some of these apparently simple constructions can be. And Bach’s could be quite complex…
But enough about music composition and Bach’s bio. We’re too much into the weeds. Now, where was I?
Oh, yes. Bach. A lot of people I know appreciate his compositions. A lot more see them as somewhat plodding, following an obvious march-like progression which is not nearly as replete with flights of harmonic fantasies as, say, later composers like Mozart (“The Magic Flute”), or Johan Nepomuk Hummel (“The Magic Castle”). Nor are they as playfully rhythmic in their tonal lyricism as Strauss’s Viennese waltzes. Nor as movingly powerful as the incoming tides of Beethoven’s majestic unleashed symphonies. I could go on…
But Bach has his own genius…
He plays to the steady, the home and hearth of our contentment, the happiness and sublime joy it brings us to be alive, and in a place we can search out and find beauty within. He knew what he wrote, and – equally important – why he wrote it.
His everyday spiritual rectitude was not something he thrust out self-righteously to the world around him. Instead, he was sensitive to others’ own partialities. He wrote, and let his music express all his own joy at the rightness of the world. It was something he was capable of perceiving, a gift not possessed or developed or sought by very many others.
His sense of this rightness is a source of his exuberant competence in both secular and sacred music. His inspired skills and accomplishments have exalted him to the rarified top ranks of composers of true genius.
Now, why do I mention Bach’s genius so often, and glorify his works?
Well, if you’ve read this far, I’m gratified at your patience…
You may have read my ‘Mozart’s Brain’ broadsheets. They show you I use music to inspire my creative “little gray cells,” a phrase which Hercule Poirot – the Belgian detective Agatha Christie created – always used to refer to (i.e., his brain). I’ve got special musical pieces I’ve drawn inspiration from for both full novels, and others I’ve delighted in for the short stories.
There’s so of Bach’s gorgeous music to be sifted through. I have no difficulty finding and working into my creative thoughts a new piece of his. One I may never have heard before. And he serves to inspire me…
Now, these short “flights of fancy” aren’t going to be an extended admiring biographical sketch of Bach. They’ll be compact jewel cases of different themes, loosely related to creative writing. Their common thread will be subjects which are deep within us. They will dwell upon emotions which we may not even know we use when we set about writing various scenes in our stories, or acts in our screenplays. We all need them, and we all use them. But sometimes, we want them to just help us get in touch with our own feelings, to get a sense of “what it’s like” to be in the shoes of one or more of our characters…
Maybe I’ll be good enough to help you make these connections. Maybe not. But these short works will seek to offer some beautifully crafted writing, which, when we all have produced something and look back upon it, we can say, “I’m glad I experienced that!…”
About the author…
Wim Baren is the author’s pen name. He lives a stone’s throw from Colonial Williamsburg, a place rich in history. He imagines himself a novelist. He’s written two full-length tales set in long-ago times. He’s also written a couple of short stories, and a bunch of short broadsheets about his creative writing experiences and insights. All of these are on Shakespir, and almost all of them are free.
As of the date of this writing, he’s playing at setting up his own website ( – not complete yet), and is feverishly inventing two new tales, also set in ancient times. One is a sequel to “The Crimson Emperor” – a fabulously romantic tale about Byzantium known by practically nobody – and another is an alternative history surrounding the Empress Theodora of Byzantium, a larger-than-life novel about the most powerful woman in the 6th century world at the time. That period of the Eastern Roman Empire did not lack excitement, to say the least…
So, with a spouse he dotes upon, two aging (nearly 17 years young) Shi-Tzus who still think they are only two years old, and a pleasant prospect over which his front entrance looks to stimulate his thoughts, he’s got a quiet and most enjoyable lifestyle. Would that everybody could enjoy the same, or more…
Thought and ideas are welcome, courteously done.