Radio 3 sets two new world records

Broadcast of Max Richter's Sleep is longest ever transmission of a single piece

Performance of 'Sleep' at the Wellcome Collection. (Credit Mike Terry)

Radio 3 established two Guinness world records on Sunday 27 September with a live broadcast of Max Richter’s Sleep. The eight-hour, one-minute and 23-second  performance was the ‘longest live broadcast’ and the ‘longest single continuous broadcast of a piece’ to have ever featured on radio.

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Sleep was composed in collaboration with the neuroscientist David Eagleman as an exploration of the interaction of music and the sleeping mind. Richter calls it his ‘lullaby for a frenetic world.’ Sleep is scored for a chamber ensemble of strings, keyboard, electronics, and solo soprano, who performed in shifts throughout the night, taking breaks to sleep.

Richter was commissioned to write the work as part of the ‘Why Music?’ weekend: a collaboration between Radio 3 and the Wellcome collection. The event was comprised of a series of lectures, discussions and concerts, focusing on the power of music on our minds and bodies. Contributors included prominent music therapists, neuroscientists, and psychologists.

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The broadcast of Sleep will be available on BBC Radio iPlayer until the 26th of October. Find out more here.