Max Richter's Sleep to be released for streaming in its eight-hour entirety on March 16th for the first time
On 16 March 2018, which is ‘World Sleep Day’, Max Richter’s eight-hour opus, in its true and original form, will be made available for streaming for the first time, allowing it to be experienced without interruption, to accompany the listener’s sleeping hours, as the composer intended.
His works tend to be derived from concepts he feels warrant wider attention, described by Richter as a “definite social purpose” for his creativity, aiming “to tell stories that ‘speak’ and pose questions, and take the listener on a journey”, said the 51-year old.
“I’m aiming to explore how the brain can be a space for music to inhabit when our consciousness is on holiday”. Composing Sleep involved Richter working closely with the American neuroscientist David Eagleman.
“Sleep avoids the 'high notes', nothing above a couple of hundred hertz. This reflects the acoustic environment of a foetus in the uterus”, explained Richter to the editor of ZEIT magazine: “There are about 40 beats per minute, which is a very gentle resting pulse.” The reverberations in the recording are reminiscent of how music sounds when we are falling asleep. "Slow descending diatonic scales gently carry us into the realm of alpha, delta and theta waves. The work, which contains over 30 different variations, is a bed of sound into which the stressed can sink without hesitation. Richter follows in the footsteps of Johann Sebastian Bach, who in 1741 wrote his Goldberg Variations for a sleepless Count.
The availability of this quite unique stream of a singular work is not intended to be consumed as a ’sleep aid‘ but as an accompaniment to the whole ritual of the preparation and awakening and what lies between. The music is "so gentle and trance-inspiring that you cannot prevent yourself from falling into a state of relaxation", commented the generally prosaic Wall Street Journal.
The international success of the work shows just how right Richter was with Sleep. Along with The Blue Notebooks (the ground-breaking album which itself will be released in May 2018 in an expanded reissue), his adaptation of Vivaldi's ‘Four Seasons’ and his recent ballet work Three Worlds – Music from Woolf Works, Sleep is the British composer’s most famous opus.
This spring, Richter will also enthral the American public with his eight-hour lullaby for piano, string quintet, electronics and vocals. Following concerts in Berlin, London, Sydney, Amsterdam, Zurich, Madrid and Paris, Sleep will be performed overnight on March 12th at the legendary South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, followed by an overnight performance on March 16th at Auckland Festival.
As with all ‘Sleep’ live performances, the audience experience the music in beds rather than concert seats. Expect pyjamas, sleeping bags, and an experience that both audience and media alike have found incredibly moving. Max, soprano (Grace Davidson) and small band (ACME Ensemble) take on the challenge of this 8-hour performance, knowing that "It's all long, sustained notes, and there's no room to hide, it has to be perfect” (violinist Brian Snow of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, who originally made the Deutsche Grammophon recording of Sleep at New York's Avatar Studios.)
With his magnum opus, Max Richter has realised mankind’s most modern dream: to find a place away from the noise and enjoy some simple tranquillity.
Max Richter’s Hostiles soundtrack conveys the power of the human spirit to overcome hatred and division
The latest film score by award-winning composer Max Richter, for director Scott Cooper's Hostiles, evokes with beauty and restraint the wild landscapes of a world in which individuals collide with forces beyond their control. The film is hitting theatres from January 2018, while Deutsche Grammophon will release the OST digitally on 5 January and physically on 9 February.
Hostiles is set in the American West of the early 1890s, when the Second Industrial Revolution was fast changing society and the native population had finally been defeated after decades of war with the US Army. Based on an original story by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Donald E. Stewart, the film follows the relationship between a cavalry captain and war hero turned jailer, Joseph Blocker (Christian Bale), and Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi), a Northern Cheyenne chief held prisoner by Blocker at Fort Berringer, a dismal, dust-blown outpost in New Mexico. Blocker accompanies the dying Yellow Hawk and his family back to their tribal home in Montana, a journey that takes them through the striking scenery of America’s heartlands. Along the way they are joined by Rosalee Quaid (Rosamund Pike), traumatised survivor of a bloody Comanche massacre. As these three characters, whose lives have been shattered by violence, bloodshed and loss, fight to survive in the hostile landscape of the American frontier, they grow ever closer – mutual suspicion is replaced by tolerance, aversion by empathy.
Grammy and Emmy nominated Max Richter has been widely acclaimed for his work in film and television. Recent awards include The European Film Academy Award for Waltz with Bashir, , the International Film Music Critics Award for The Leftovers, and a German Film Award and Australian Film Critics Award for Lore.
Echoing the compelling human drama of Hostiles, the score for this period Western, performed by the Air Lyndhurst Orchestra, combines the haunting stillness and elegiac beauty of Richter’s Waltz with Bashir music with the noir-like intensity of his recent soundtrack for the hit BBC TV series Taboo. Tracks such as the plaintive “A Woman Alone”, recalled and varied throughout, mirror the film’s hard psychological edges and the transformation of conflict and ill-will into compassion and love.
The soundtrack also includes the heartbreaking “How Shall a Sparrow Fly”, written and performed by star Americana singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham and released by DG as an eSingle on 5 January 2018.