Sleep Through this Piece of Classical Music—It’s What the Composer Wants


Anyone who’s ever dozed in the middle of a concerto will appreciate the sweet sound of this news: A composer has created a piece for doing just that.

British artist Max Richter has written an eight-hour “lullaby” called “SLEEP,” which will stream for free tonight only, beginning at 8 p.m., wherever you are in the world. The digital version will be up for 24 hours, and then available for purchase. Listeners are being encouraged to share their experience using the hashtag #OneWorldSleep.

How do you give a live performance of a piece that's meant to facilitate slumber? With beds of course. When "SLEEP" premieres later this fall in Berlin, the audience will listen from the comfort of mattresses from midnight until 8 a.m.

"SLEEP" will be the longest piece of classical music ever recorded and the piece itself is the longest single piece of classical music ever written. An hour-long adaptation will also be released, should someone wish to have a conscious experience engaging with the music.

The piece is scored for piano, strings, vocals and electronics. While writing it, Richter consulted with American neuroscientist David Eagleman to learn about how the brain functions during sleep.

In a teaser for the piece on YouTube, Richter says, "It's a piece of nighttime music and I'm hoping people will actually sleep through it." He goes on to describe it as “an eight hour place to rest.”

The piece originally ran in June 2015.