Throughout history, romantic love has inspired nearly as many works of art as there have been artists. Grief has offered inspiration less often, though often enough for there to be standard forms for grieving artists to follow: elegy, threnody, dirge, requiem. Peter Lieberson’s “Songs of Love and Sorrow,’’ which receives its world premiere from the Boston Symphony Orchestra Thursday, brings together romantic love and grief. Lieberson envisioned the work as a memorial to his second wife, the singer Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, who died in 2006; the composition evolved to embrace the broader themes of new love found and the fullness of all life experiences. Works created by an artist in memory of a deceased partner are relatively rare. Such creations have been rendered in word and stone, paint and film, as well as music.
Lewis Jacobs for The Boston Globe/File