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Eight-hour tune sends you to sleep

Published 17/06/2015

Music lovers can look forward to an eight-hour lullaby
Music lovers can look forward to an eight-hour lullaby

British contemporary composer Max Richter has written what is believed to be the longest single piece of classical music ever to be recorded.

Richter's piece, titled SLEEP, is described by the composer as "an eight-hour lullaby", which he hopes will put listeners to sleep.

The piece contains no words, and will be premiered in Berlin in September.

Richter will launch the piece with a concert performance that will be hosted from 12pm to 8am, and guests will be given beds, not seats.

Talking about his composition, Richter said: "It's my personal lullaby for a frenetic world. A manifesto for a slower pace of existence."

There is a shorter version of the eight-hour album, which will be one-hour long.

Richter said: " You could say that the short one is meant to be listened to and the long one is meant to be heard while sleeping.

"It's really an experiment to try and understand how we experience music in different states of consciousness.

"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."

Richter worked with American neuroscientist David Eagleman while he composed the piece.

He said: " 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.

"I'm perpetually curious about performance conventions in classical music, our rigid rules that dictate how and what music we can appreciate.

"Somehow in Europe over the last century, as complexity and inaccessibility in music became equated with intelligence and the avant-garde, we lost something along the way.

"Modernism gave us so many stunning works but we also lost our lullabies. We lost a shared communion in sound. Audiences have dwindled.

"All my pieces over the last few years have been exploring this, as does SLEEP. It's a very deliberate political statement for me."

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