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Max Richter - Sleep / review

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It might be taken for granted but sleep is as essential to human life as food. Some claim it is more so and that the human body can survive longer without food than it can without sleep. Max Richter, a German-born British classically trained composer, values the necessity of sleep which he classes as one of his favourite activities, so much so that he devoted his new composition to sleep, eight hours of what he calls a lullaby that premiered in Berlin in September when participants brought beds and blankets to experience Richter's mesmerising minimalist creation. It is scaled-down to a one-hour set of highlights for this From Sleep CD featuring Richter on piano, organ, synthesisers and electronics, with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble quintet of string players plus vocal sounds in the final track. Richter skilfully shapes two imaginative "Path" movements (5 and 19), Space 21 (petrichor), Dream 3 (in the midst of my life)and Dream 8 (late and soon) into a compelling program of composed and improvised soothers for insomniacs.