Max Richter's 8-hour composition to be broadcast in full on BBC Radio 3 this weekend

09 April 2020
By Ellie Palmer
'SLEEP' will air overnight from 11pm on Saturday 11 April 7am on Easter Sunday (April 12) as part of the BBC's ‘Slow and Mindful’ series

Richter's 8-hour lullaby was originally premiered five years ago at London's Wellcome Collection library. It's this recording that will be playing overnight this weekend on BBC Radio 3.

Meanwhile, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) will bring together radio members across the globe to air the full 8-hour piece – with over 15 stations in Europe and beyond, including the US, Canada and New Zealand. They will all broadcast SLEEP during the Easter weekend.

Richter performed SLEEP live from the Great Wall of China back in 2019.

Max Richter says: “Five years ago I wrote SLEEP as an invitation to pause our busy lives for a moment. Now we are all facing an unexpected and unwelcome pause. It is far from easy to adjust to this new normal, which daily brings fresh anxiety and suffering to our communities, to those we love, and to ourselves.

At this time the magical ability of creativity to elevate our days and to connect us with one another is more valuable than ever, and I’m really happy that BBC Radio 3 and the EBU will allow us to listen all together across the world. Please stay home, stay safe, and enjoy this 8-hour place to rest with those you love."

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When it was first broadcast in 2015, Radio 3’s live airing of SLEEP broke two Guinness World Records; for the longest broadcast of a single piece of music, and the longest live broadcast of a single piece of music. Since the world premiere, the piece has been staged across the globe, with landmark concerts in Paris, Los Angeles and Sydney – with audiences in beds, not seats. 

Tune in this Saturday 11 April at 11pm on BBC Radio 3.

Main image: © Mike Terry