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06
Saturday
06 June 2020

Sleep, a common dream

Max Richter, Sleep, 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Courtesy of Sundance Institute, Photo by Rahi Rezvani

‘It’s my personal lullaby for a frenetic world.
A manifesto for a slower pace of existence.’

All we need is this simple and beautiful definition to understand the scope of a work the likes of Sleep by Max Richter, one of the greatest contemporary composers. The musical project finds its roots in luminaries such as John Cage, Terry Riley and LaMonte Young, and was perfectly orchestrated to be enjoyed live: the concert starts at midnight and ends at eight in the morning; spectators are offered beds rather than actual seats. Right now, we are rushing to join a hectic world – and yet a slower pace, rest, sleep, and dreams are elements we still urgently require. An unprecedent dreamscape experiment took place between 10 in the evening of Sunday 12 and 6 in the morning of Monday 13 April. Dozens of radios across Europe – including our own Radio 3 – broadcast Sleep: eight hours of therapeutic sounds, a musical rite shared across the waves which gave listeners the opportunity to experience an unknown temporal dimension. In other words, a dream. A common dream.