Seeing Time 1 - Cécile Marti

Seeing Time 1 is my first piece to be composed for a full-length narrative ballet with a duration of ninety minutes. The ballet is formed of several sections, which can be performed either as individual parts (without dance) or as the whole ballet. The ballet Seeing Time results from a creative research project on temporal development. The outcome of research work was an orchestral cycle called Seven Towers (2012–15) exploring seven different types of musical time. Musical time can be goal-directed, static, momentary, and so forth. Seeing Time 1 develops the idea of types of time, as it involves a narrative regarding choreography. In this piece, two types of time dominate in the musical development as static versus dynamic time frequently overlap. The narrative of the ballet is based on an extraordinary life experience of the composer herself, written down in her extensive diaries. The story is about a stroke experienced at a young age and its physical effects. Seeing Time I describes the moment of change when the stroke started. The resulting experience of an inescapable physical transformation became another element of musical imagination. What musically can be heard are irregular pulse, accelerated heartbeat and static pitch hovering over time to describe physical paralysis affecting the body. Further effects are impaired eyesight, such as blindness and blind spots, musically expressed by clusters of high-pitched sound. The composer aspires to combine real-life experience—as a source of musical imagination—with the use of various types of time, and see how they interpenetrate in the ballet. 

Cécile Marti