Quintro was conceived as an electroacoustic, real-time performance work using a standard acoustic composition for five double basses along with the MAX or Pro Tools computer program, for electroacoustic enhancement. Either electroacoustic enhancement, or a performance with straight and unprocessed acoustic sound can be employed at the performers’ discretion. Quintro is designed to showcase unlimited aspects in sound production for the double bass either way. Basses 2 and 4 work as a unit and should be placed together on one side of the stage, opposite basses 3 and 5, who also work as a unit. Solo bass 1 should then be located in the middle of the stage, between the two groups.
The three movements are titled: 1. Smooth Flow 2. Ebb 3. Return. ‘Smooth Flow’ begins the musical voyage in a relaxed, unhurried manner with the solo over top of a constant quaver flow spread throughout the ensemble. The structure includes a retrograde in the solo from mid-way to the end. ‘Ebb’ is largely abstract, with eerie glissando harmonics and low pedal drones. The ensemble conveys a sense of improvisation, in contrast to the steady cross-rhythms and melody of the outer movements. Improvisation of any sort by the performers is encouraged by the composer for this movement. ‘Return’ picks up the pace for a speedy journey home. The constant, but faster quaver flow keeps the momentum while the solo alternates different melodies and effects over the top. The work ends with a recapitulation of a pizzicato segment from the ‘smooth flow’ melody, at bar 34 of the first movement.