Max Richter Announces Eight Hour Album, ‘SLEEP’

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Premiere Will Last From 12am to 8am. Audiences To Be Given Beds, Not Seats

Pioneering German-born British composer Max Richter has announced what is thought to be one of the longest pieces of classical music ever committed to tape. The piece will be entitled SLEEP, and will be available on Deutsche Grammaphone on September 4th. The full eight-hour version will be available as a digital album, while fans of brevity can grab a condensed one hour version of the piece on CD, vinyl, download, and digital streaming formats. You can watch a teaser above which teases a short extract from the piece, and includes Richter’s musings on the project.

SLEEP will receive its world premiere this September in Berlin, at which the audience will be given beds instead of seats. They will be expected to sleep while the piece is performed from 12am to 8am. “You could say that the short one is meant to be listened to and the long one is meant to be heard while sleeping,” says Richter, who describes the one-hour version as “a series of windows opening into the big piece”.

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 eminent American neuroscientist David Eagleman while composing, to learn more about how the human brain functions while sleeping. “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. It’s really an experiment to try and understand how we experience music in different states of consciousness.” He says he came up with the idea because of a long-standing fascination, “Sleeping is one of the most important things we all do. We spend a third of our lives asleep and it’s always been one of my favourite things, ever since I was a child.”

Worldwide special overnight SLEEP performances to be announced.

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