An all-night world premiere performance of Max Richter's eight-hour epic 'Sleep', live from the Wellcome Collection Reading Room in London.
In the longest single continuous piece of music ever broadcast live on the BBC, Max Richter is joined by soprano Grace Davidson plus five string players, and an audience who are encouraged to lie on beds and sleep through the performance. Forming the centrepiece of Radio 3's 'Why Music?' weekend, this 'lullaby for a frenetic world' seeks to explore the relationship between music and the subconscious mind: instead of than giving the piece full concentration, listeners are encouraged to experience it in a state of sleep. The musicians play in shifts, themselves taking sleep breaks during the course of the piece.
Grace Davidson (soprano)
Natalia Bonner and Steve Morris (violins)
Reiad Chibah (viola)
Ian Burdge and Chris Worsey (cellos)
Max Richter (piano, keyboards and electronics)
'Sleep' was composed in consultation with American neuroscientist David Eagleman. In Max Richter's words, 'I think of sleep as an experiment into how music and the mind can interact in this other state of consciousness, one we all spend decades of our lives completely immersed in, but which is so far rather poorly understood. I consulted with David Eagleman on how music can relate to the sleep state and have incorporated our conversations in the compositional process of the work'.