Mortal Storm, a cycle of five songs on poetry by Langston Hughes, was composed in 1965 for Thomas Carey. Having previously sung the composer's Four Motivations, Carey commissioned the work of Owens after having won First Prize in the Ard International Competition in 1963. Carey sang Mortal Storm frequently throughout Europe and the United States.
Mortal Storm represents a marked change in Owens' song writing. In the composer's words, “I moved from realms of Schubert lieder and demanded of the singer the passion and drama of opera.” The broader public was introduced to Owens' songwriting via Patterson's Anthology of Art Songs by Black American Composers, This 1977 publication featured two of Owens' songs from Mortal Storm, "Genius Child” and “Faithful One.”
(First edition © 2012.by Classical Vocal Reprints. www.classicalvocalrep.com)
Using this strong poetry as inspiration, I made complimentary visuals to go along with the music. Keeping the visual element to a minimum to avoid drawing too much attention from the perfromers. Indivisual perfromances and more sketches of process are available on my blog