On Sunday, BBC Radio 3 broadcast German composer Max Richter’s piece SLEEP live from the Wellcome Collection venue in London, UK.
No ordinary piece of music, Richter’s experiment was a lengthy 8 hour 1 minute 23 seconds long, and consequently set records as the Longest broadcast of a single piece of music and the Longest live broadcast of a single piece of music.
Beginning at midnight, Richter's “lullaby for a frenetic world” premiered throughout the early hours of Sunday, as he performed to an increasingly lethargic studio audience in camp beds, with Radio 3 controller Alan Davey encouraging radio listeners to dose off to the unique broadcast.
Richter wrote the record-setting composition after talking to successful American neuroscientist David Eagleman about the idea that music can induce and improve sleep.
The ensemble who performed the piece was made up of Richter on piano, keyboards and electronics, Grace Davidson (soprano), Natalia Bonner and Steve Morris (violins), Reiad Chibah (viola), Ian Burdge and Chris Worsey (cellos).
Guinness World Records adjudicator Pravin Patel stayed up to verify the record and presented the composer and radio show with an official certificate confirming their new records.
Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday said: “We at Guinness World Records pride ourselves at being present at ground-breaking events, to measure and qualify the successes of the world’s greatest achievers. BBC Radio 3’s broadcast of Max Richter’s composition certainly falls into that category and we were delighted to be on hand to approve this as a new world record.”