Max Richter on first overnight public concert at Kraftwerk
Last night from midnight to 8am the Max Richter Ensemble performed the 8 hour lullaby ‘SLEEP’ in its entirety at the first ever public concert, at Kraftwerk in Berlin, where audience members were given beds.
“Thanks everyone for making the ‘SLEEP’ premiere such an amazing experience. We’ve been working on making this happen for a couple of years, and it’s been a thrill to finally make this voyage through the night with you, and to hear all your incredible feedback. I’m going to get some rest now, but I’m looking forward to the second night!” Max Richter
Max will be doing a further 2 overnight gigs at Kraftwerk tonight and Thursday.
‘SLEEP’ was written by one of the world leading contemporary composers – Max Richter – with the genuine intention of sending the listener to sleep. The acclaimed, chart-topping landmark work is scored for piano, strings, electronics and vocals – but no words. “It’s my personal lullaby for a frenetic world,” he says. “A manifesto for a slower pace of existence.”
“It’s really an experiment to try and understand how we experience music in different states of consciousness.” Max says he came up with the idea because of a long-standing fascination: “Sleeping is one of the most important things we all do,” he says. “We spend a third of our lives asleep and it’s always been one of my favourite things, ever since I was a child.”
Max consulted eminent American neuroscientist David Eagleman while composing, to learn more about how the human brain functions while sleeping. “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.”
Richter adds, “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.”