Max Richter says of Sleep, composed in consultation with US neuroscientist David Eagleman, “This is my personal lullaby for a frenetic world – a manifesto for a slower pace of existence.” At the historic world premiere, he was joined by soprano Grace Davidson plus five string players, playing before an audience who were encouraged to lie on beds and experience the music through a state of sleep. The performance formed the centrepiece of BBC Radio 3’s “Why Music?” weekend, exploring the relationship between music and the subconscious mind.

Hailed as the most influential composer of his generation, Richter creates a sound world that blends a classical training with modern technology, with work including a series of acclaimed solo albums on FatCat and Deutsche Grammophon, concert and ballet music, and scores for award-winning films and TV series, including Waltz with Bashir and HBO’s The Leftovers. Sleep and from Sleep are part of his ongoing efforts to draw audiences back into contemporary classical music and regain “a shared communion in sound”.