Posts Tagged ‘Wellcome Collection’

Radio 3 Broadcasts 8 Hour Long Piece of Music to Send You To Sleep. Really.

April 9, 2020

I found this in next week’s Radio Times, and it’s a prize candidate for Private Eye’s ‘Pseud’s Corner’. This Saturday, 11 April 2020, at 11.00 pm, the channel will broadcast the 8 hour long piece, ‘Sleep’, to send us all to the Land of Nod. The blurb for it in the Radio Times runs

Another chance to hear Max Richter’s eight-hour epic, Sleep, originally broadcast in September 2015 from the Wellcome Collection Reading Room in London, as the centrepiece of Radio 3’s Why Music? weekend. Composed in consultation with the American neuroscientist David Eagleman, this “lullaby for a frenetic world” seeks to explore the relationship between music and the subconscious mind; instead of giving the piece full concentration, listeners are encouraged to experience it in a state of sleep. Richter is joined by five string players and an audience who are encouraged to lie on beds and sleep through the performance. The musicians – five string players and a soprano, plus Max Richter on keyboards – play in shifts, themselves taking sleep breaks during the course of the piece. This world premiere performance broke two Guinness World Records – for the longest broadcast of a single piece of music, and the longest live broadcast of a single piece of music. The piece provides an apt soundrack for these times of lockdown, when hours seemingly stretch into the distance.

Radio 3 really has broadcast some pieces that sound straight out of The Fast Show’s ‘Jazz Club’. I know this is Classical music, rather than Jazz, but it is still like the pretentious, pseudish music ‘Jazz Club’ lampooned. And I know the sketch was really based on Whispering Bob, the host of the Old Grey Whistle Test, but Radio 3 also used to broadcast modern Jazz, that was almost exactly like the parodies on The Fast Show, in their late night programme, Late Junction. Listen to this at your peril!

Nice!