Max Richter Announces Eight-Hour Album SLEEP

Audience at world premiere will be given beds, not seats

By Evan Minsker June 17, 2015

Max Richter Announces Eight-Hour Album SLEEP

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The German-born British composer Max Richter has announced his latest endeavor—one of the longest single pieces in the history of classical music. Richter describes it as "an eight-hour lullaby" that's appropriately titled SLEEP. Watch a teaser below.

The full eight-hour version will be available digitally on September 4 via Deutsche Grammophon. A one-hour adaptation of the piece, from SLEEP, will be released on CD, vinyl, and digitally the same day. “You could say that the short one is meant to be listened to and the long one is meant to be heard while sleeping,” said Richter in a statement.

It's appropriate, then, that the full eight-hour piece will be premiered to an audience lying in beds. The world premiere happens in Berlin this September at a concert that will go from midnight to 8 a.m. The audience will be given beds instead of seats. That's right: It's a classical music slumber party.

Richter says he doesn't expect anyone to sit and listen to the piece in its entirety. “It’s really an experiment to try and understand how we experience music in different states of consciousness," he said. 

He consulted with neuroscientist David Eagleman while working on the piece to learn about how the brain functions during sleep. "Sleeping is one of the most important things we all do,” Richter said. "We spend a third of our lives asleep and it’s always been one of my favourite things, ever since I was a child. … For me, SLEEP is an attempt to see how that space when your conscious mind is on holiday can be a place for music to live."

Here's a teaser:


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