An ‘On the Move’ Playlist

Add some musical accompaniment to your reading of Oliver Sacks’ “On the Move” with these Sacks-inspired tracks, curated by Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova.

Oliver Sacks, seated at his piano in the little house in Topanga Canyon. Photo courtesy of the Oliver Sacks Foundation.
Oliver Sacks, seated at his piano in the little house in Topanga Canyon. Photo courtesy of the Oliver Sacks Foundation.

When Oliver Sacks turned 75, he was given a princely gift: an iPod stocked with the entire works of Johann Sebastian Bach. (As a child, Oliver was once asked about his two favorite things. His response? “Smoked salmon and Bach.”) The gift coincided with Sacks’ return to piano lessons—after a gap of some 60 years.

“At the time we were writing each other, I was tackling Bach’s first suite for unaccompanied cello,” remembers SciFri Book Club guest reader and Sacks correspondent Danielle Ofri. “He was working on Bach’s Prelude and Fugues for piano. I remember that we commiserated over the way the main melody and the harmonies were knotted in with each other—mischievously? Mockingly? Experimentally?”

Bach’s Prelude and Fugue No. 12 in F minor, performed by Sviatoslav Richter

Now, as the SciFri Book Club moves into its final week reading On the Move, guest reader and Brain Pickings’ editor, Maria Popova, has treated us to a similar musical gift: A curated playlist of some of Oliver Sacks’ favorite music to accompany our reading. So grab your copy of On the Move, press play, and enjoy!

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