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Charlie Piper: Insomniac

AUDIO (20:12),
2 July 2012

London Sinfonietta Music Streams: complete recordings from live performances exclusively for listening to online.

Charlie Piper Insomniac

Martyn Brabbins conductor
London Sinfonietta

This is a recording of the world premiere, captured live in concert at Pavilions: New Music Show 2, at Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall on Saturday 5 November 2011.


Insomniac is made up of three short movements exploring various states in-between sleep and wakefulness.

Often when I am stressed or have a lot of work to do I can spend the night with my mind flitting anxiously between various incoherent, inconclusive situations, attempting to make sense of issues of the day. The first movement is driven by nervous energy, striving to establish some regularity or calm but becoming increasingly agitated, darting between different materials.

Whilst writing this work I spent some time in the Swedish island Gotland where I experienced for the first time the continual sunlight they receive during summer. After sunset there remains a calming and mysterious, bright glow in the sky that confuses your ability to judge the hour. This of course affected my sleeping patterns and made me realise just how much our bodies rely on light to tell us how we should be feeling. The second movement is inspired by my time in Gotland, exploring the surreal state of mind experienced at the peripheries of consciousness.

The final movement is concerned with insomnia caused by other external influences - such as a neighbour having an all-night party. It is boisterous and wild in nature but, as with the other movements, focused by a frustrating obsessiveness.

Click here to read more about Charlie Piper.

Charlie Piper’s Insomniac was commissioned by the London Sinfonietta, with support from Susan Costello.