Max Richter and Yulia Mahr’s film Sleep was an idea 28 years in the making. It was recorded in 2015, the first performance was in 2018, the planning of each performance takes 2 1⁄2 years. Sleep is an 8 hour, 204 movement classical piece performed in front of audiences who along with their ticket get a bed. It is a lesson in patience and perseverance.The whole process Max Richter has described as difficult and extreme, but the piece itself feels like a lullaby. It is performed to audiences in and out of sleep, in a liminal state, both profound and moving.There are no rules he says, it's about the experience.
Sleep explores the nature of our existence and looks at the process of creativity. There is a sense of a shared experience here, a community being formed albeit a transitory one. In the film, the idea is discussed that the constant speeding up of life is good for corporations but bad for individuals, which feels so pertinent when we are poised to move back to a busier life as lockdown restrictions are lifted. Given the frantic nature of many aspects of modern life it is an invitation to pause, reflect, and slow down.
By Amanda Montague
Sleep (music soundtrack) is available in full for free on Spotify