Max Richter Announces Sleep Album, ‘An Eight-Hour Lullaby’ Premiering in Berlin

Max Richter has revealed his latest record Sleep, “an eight-hour lullaby” available as an unedited digital album and a 60-minute “adaptation” via Deutsche Grammophon on September 4th. According to a press release, the composer’s piece—one of the longest classical works ever recorded—was scored for piano, strings, electronics and word-less vocals, amounting to “a manifesto for a slower pace of existence.”

An as-yet-unnamed Berlin venue will present the world premiere of Sleep this September, in a concert that runs from midnight to 8 a.m. and features beds instead of seats.

“You could say that the short one is meant to be listened to and the long one is meant to be heard while sleeping,” explained Richter, who recently unveiled his acclaimed Woolf Works score at London’s Royal Opera House. “It’s really an experiment to try and understand how we experience music in different states of consciousness.”

Neuroscientist David Eagleman served as an advisor on the project, helping Richter understand how the human brain works when it’s at rest. Or as the composer put it, “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… This isn’t something new in music; it goes back to Cage, Terry Riley, and LaMonte Young, and it’s coming around again partly as a reaction to our speeded-up lives. We are all in need of a pause button.”

Check out an official Sleep trailer below: