Movement 1, 'Creation', is notated without barlines, and is to be felt and played as a series of crotchet pulses non-phrased note patterns/events.
Movement 2, 'Presence', is a phrase-based movement notated with barlines, where rest values are to be “felt” and played as spaces within the movement.
Movement 3, 'Movement', is a gesture- and texture-based movement, notated with barlines.
Movement 4, 'Monologue', contains both 'free' notation and barlines, which serve to aid the performance of the gesture- and phrase-based nature of the material.
Movement 5, "Absence', is as Movement 2.
5 portraits was commissioned by Edward Bhesania (piano), and was premiered on 26th June 1992 at the Assembly House, Norwich, England.