April 10, 2020


"It's an invitation to rest and to reflect": Max Richter on his eight-hour work Sleep: This weekend, Richter's "lullaby for a frenetic world" will be simulcast internationally on the radio. Could it bring a physically distanced globe together (EMILY BOOTLE, 4/10/20, New Statesman)

As Saturday turns into Easter Sunday this weekend, there will be music playing. Though that is true of every night, somewhere in the world, on this night it will be special. At 11pm UK time, BBC Radio 3 will commence playing in full Max Richter's Sleep, an eight-hour-long 2015 work intended as a "lullaby for a frenetic world" and a reflection of the state of dreaming. Radio stations across Europe and North America will also play the work in simulcast. Listeners around the globe, most of whom are physically distanced from loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic, will all be listening to the same music.

Richter's Sleep could not be more fitting for this moment. It is profoundly slow and meditative, scored with piano, strings and electronics. It was released in 2015 as an album -- with named tracks that flow into one another continuously -- to both critical acclaim and widespread popularity, reaching No 1 in the US Billboard Classical charts, and garnering attention for its extraordinary length. "The piece has its roots in my sense at the time that we were all getting a little bit data saturated," Richter tells me over the phone from his home in Oxfordshire, where he is self-isolating with his family. "Life was moving very much on to the screen, into the virtual space -- and that space is a 24/7 space. So I wanted to try to make a piece which could function as a holiday from that, a pause."

Posted by at April 10, 2020 6:34 PM