NEWS published on 07 Apr 2020

Zzzzz - BBC-induced sleep in an age of anxiety

Over the Easter weekend, BBC Radio 3 will reprise its ground-breaking and experimental broadcast of Sleep. This 8-hour lullaby, meant to be heard by listeners while asleep, was composed by Max Richter in consultation with US neuroscientist David Eagleman and premiered on BBC Radio 3 in 2015, the longest single piece of music ever broadcast live by the station. 

  BBC Radio 3 has obtained from Universal the rights to share the 2015 recording with EBU radio organizations. The recording will be broadcast during a 72-hour window which opens at 23.00 BST (UTC +1) on Saturday 11 April and is available in MUS (SM/2020/04/17/01).

Edward Blakeman, Head of Programmes at BBC Radio 3, says: "We are doing this very much in response to these extraordinary times and the fact that so many people are anxious and in need of something that would be a consolation: a 'lullaby for a frenetic world', as it’s been called." 

The work is performed by the composer (piano, keyboards and electronics) and his small ensemble: soprano Grace Davidson, violinists Natalia Bonner and Steve Morris, viola player Reiad Chibah and cellists Ian Burdge and Chris Worsey. 

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". 

To date, the following stations have announced their intention to participate: RTBF/Musiq3 (Belgium), BNR/Radio Shumen and Radio Varna (Bulgaria), SRC/ICI Musique (Canada), DR/P2 (Denmark), ERR/Klassika Raadio (Estonia), SRF/France Musique (France), HR/hr2-kultur (Germany), NDR/NDR Kultur (Germany), ERT/Trito programma (Greece), RTÉ/lyric fm (Ireland), RAI/Rai Radio 3 (Italy), LR/Latvijas Radio 3 Klasika (Latvia), LRT/KLASIKA (Lithuania), ERSL/Radio 100,7 (Luxembourg), NPO/NPO4 (Netherlands), RNZ/RNZ Concert (New Zealand), RTVS/Rádio Devin (Slovakia), RTVS/Ars Programme (Slovenia), RTVE/Radio Clásica (Spain), the BBC/Radio 3 (UK) and APM/YourClassical (US).


Contact detail

Pascale Labrie
Head of Music
+41 79 704 38 18