To mark World Sleep Day, 20 leading international musicians
from 8 different labels
within Universal Music Group
have come together to create 18 brand new tracks
to help provide a soothing soundtrack to aid a healthy night’s rest. This major global initiative, supported by World Sleep Society
, features a host of new compositions, arrangements, collaborations and remixes. They will be released as digital singles on Friday 19 March
and also made available via a specially-curated playlist.
Pioneering composer Max Richter
has created a new version of ‘Dream 3
’ from his 8.5-hour work SLEEP
, the worldwide phenomenon that returned to the top of the Billboard classical albums chart after World Sleep Day last year and has been streamed more than 700 million
times since its release in 2015. His acclaimed documentary, Max Richter’s SLEEP
will also be available to stream worldwide for 48 hours on DG Stage
– The Classical Concert Hall by Deutsche Grammophon – and his hugely popular SLEEP app
is getting a special feature enabling a one-hour listening experience to encourage a collective moment of meditative reflection. Max Richter describes SLEEP
as “a call to contemplation in changing times”.
Many of today’s most exciting composers have created new pieces for World Sleep Day. Ludovico Einaudi
adapted a theme from his album Seven Days Walking
to create ‘Fossils’, which features solo piano and a tape loop recorded with an A77 Revox tape machine. Peter Gregson’s ‘Somnia’
, ‘Nocturnal Mind’ by Yiruma
, ‘Illumination’ by Isobel Waller-Bridge
and Luke Howard’s
‘Passion Sleep’ are among the other new compositions which have been written for the occasion. There are also surprising collaborations such as Japanese flautist Cocomi
contributing to Chad Lawson’s
‘Stay’ and Wei Luo
performing Christopher Tin’s
‘Nocturne’ – a composition inspired by the poem I Love Thee
by Eliza Acton, which conjures up wistful and evocative imagery of night time and romance. Chad Lawson explains
: “Even though we’re on opposite sides of the world, Cocomi and I share the same stars and moon. We thought what better way to celebrate World Sleep Day than to release our new version of ‘Stay’.”
Familiar tunes have also been reimagined for World Sleep Day. Saxophonist Jess Gillam has transformed The Beatles’ cosmic hit ‘Across The Universe’ while Secret Garden’s Rolf Løvland has rearranged the band’s track ‘Sleepsong’ for solo piano.
In addition to the new tracks, there is a series of new 3D surround sound mixes from artists including Víkingur Ólafsson, Mari Samuelsen, Chilly Gonzales and Jarvis Cocker. There are also four ‘chill mixes’ from the Poor Clare Sisters of Arundel – a community of 23 nuns living in the south of England who are enjoying international chart success with their album, Light for the World.
World Sleep Day is an annual call to action about the importance of healthy sleep. An internationally recognized awareness event, it focuses on the impact of sound sleep habits on overall well-being. This year’s activity is especially significant given reports of a surge in insomnia during the worldwide pandemic – a phenomenon being called “coronasomnia” (BBC News). World Sleep Society estimates that two billion people are living with insomnia. Yet research has shown that listening to music at bedtime can help people fall asleep quicker and improve sleep quality. A study
published in Musicae Scientia in December 2020 cited pieces by Yiruma
as among those which were successful in aiding sleep. Both artists have created new music for World Sleep Day.
As someone who struggles with insomnia, Sophie Hutchings is pleased to be involved in the project. She says, “It’s great to see music integrated with World Sleep Day as I think it can play an imperative role in nurturing sleep issues as it decreases levels of cortisol and it also triggers the release of dopamine, so even if you can’t sleep it will at least create a relaxing environment making for a more supportable night.”
Dickon Stainer, President and CEO of Global Classics and Jazz, Universal Music Group, says, “In a year where many have felt the power of music to help soothe a tired mind, this global initiative – developed by our team in the US – has ignited the imagination of artists and colleagues worldwide to create a unique new soundtrack for World Sleep Day.”
Graham Parker, President of Decca Records US, says, “We are proud to share these brand new pieces curated and created by the some of the most important composers of our day. Each artist approached writing for rest, relaxation and sleep in their own distinct voice, so the range in musical styles, instrumentation and length speaks to the individual relationship we all have in preparing for a night’s sleep.”
With a host of new lullabies, including 18 specially-composed new instrumental tracks, this year’s World Sleep Day is an opportunity to relax, wind down and enjoy good night’s rest.
Streaming platforms Qobuz and TIDAL present exclusively curated playlists for World Sleep Day: