New Edition 2014. Fl/pic, ob/cor, cl in B flat, hn in F and bn. Score and Parts. Composer: b. 1950. The duration is c. 12½ minutes.
Portraits was commissioned for the re-opening of Brighton Museum and Art Gallery after a closure of two years for refurbishment, and was first performed at a private view on April 29th 2002. When he received the commission, Guy Richardson decided to draw on his own observations of the behaviour of people in galleries and museums, and the variety of character types he had noted.
After an Introduction evoking the flurry of activity before the opening of an exhibition, there follows a series of eight portraits, interspersed with three brief interludes depicting a group of children playing amongst the adults.
Portrait 1: a slightly nervous character rushing from one exhibit to the next.
Portrait 2: a couple, one very enthusiastic, one very bored!
Portrait 3: somebody very confident, dressed in a richly coloured outfit and an exhibit in themselves.
Portrait 4: a couple enthusing over the exhibits while flirting with each other.
Portrait 5: an extrovert, too loud for the comfort of another member of the public.
Portrait 6: an elderly man ticks off one of the children.
Portrait 7: a V.I.P. makes an appearance, very full of himself.
Portrait 8: not about an individual, but reflecting the Indian and Chinese influence on the architecture of Brighton Pavilion, and the Dome Complex which houses the Museum and Art Gallery.
Coda: recalling the opening music of the piece, and a glimpse of some of the earlier portraits..
Cover illustration was drawn by Anna Thorell.
Revisions were made in 2009 and 2014.