Classical music has been credited with many wondrous properties, whether it's relieving depression or improving the intelligence of your baby in the womb. Apparently, it's now contributing to the well-being of the sleep-deprived. In an, er, "innovative" piece of branding, hotel chain Travelodge has hosted a "Sleep Concert", in which guests were invited to a small concert hall to attend a performance of music specifically chosen to help them to nod off for a lunchtime catnap. Travelodge point to Sleep Concerts as being a roaring, if that's the right word, success in Japan.

Travelodge also claim that this is Britain's first ever Sleep Concert, which isn't strictly accurate: they were pipped to it by the University of the West of England in 2007 (see link), to name at least one. And the idea isn't new either: the American ambient composer Robert Rich was pioneering Sleep Concerts in the 1980s around Stanford University.

In contrast to Rich's specially composed music (his output of albums included such enticing titles as Trances and Drones), Travelodge's music was a compilation of Mozart and Bach alongside more recent material by Coldplay, Snow Patrol and others, provided by the quartet String Mania. The musicians must presumably have been in the unusual position of getting worried if any of their audience stayed awake.

I suspect that this is one concert where composers would not consider the inclusion of their works as a compliment...

21st July 2010