19 Jan 2019

Sound Lounge Special: Max Richter's Sleep

From Sound Lounge, 10:00 pm on 19 January 2019

Saturday 19 January

10:00pm - 6:00am

Sound Lounge brings you a lullaby of epic proportions - Max Richter's Sleep. It's the German-born British composer's "personal lullaby for a frenetic world" scored for piano, strings, electronics and vocals without words.

The public premiere in Berlin was held at former East German Powerplant 'Kraftwerk' and since then Sleep has been heard by slumbering audiences all over the world, including the 2018 Auckland Arts Festival.

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Photo: Supplied

Max Richter has loved sleeping since he was a child and to create this experience he consulted a neuroscientist to learn more about the human brain functions while sleeping. "For me," he says, "Sleep is an attempt to see how that space when your conscious mind is on holiday, can be a place for music to live."

Richter performs on a range of keyboard instruments throughout the work. He plays piano, organ, synthesisers and electronics. He's also joined by the musicians of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) and the lilting soprano voice of Grace Davidson.

Sleep is a healthy eight hours long and holds the record for the longest piece of music ever broadcast live when it played on the BBC. It's designed to be listened to at night, while lying down and audience members at live performances of Sleep are given a camp bed and a snack, and encouraged to nod off during the eight-hour overnight performance.

Max Richter told Kim Hill why he wants his audience to go to sleep.

A huge thanks to Universal Music for allowing us to play Deutsche Grammophon's beautiful recording of Sleep.

Max Richter (piano, organ, synthesisers, electronics), Grace Davidson (soprano), American Contemporary Music Ensemble
DG 479 5267