Grieg - Modersorg
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Håvard Gimse: A Mother's Grief opus 52 no 1 in B-flat Minor (E. Grieg)
The Life and Works of Edvard Grieg: A Lecture Recital April 18, 2011, FAC 214 Leah Kennedy, soprano
In spite of the loss of their first child, Edvard and Nina remained eager to raise a family. Unfortunately, the next pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage. The couple was devastated and struggled with the realization that they were not to have a large family. In addition, Grieg lost both of his parents to death and suffered a long period of depression. There are very few compositions or written records from this time, and Grieg left his wife in order to be alone. A few months later, the two were reunited through a good friend and remained happily together for the rest of their lives, although never reconciling with the absence of a family.
This song, “Modersorg” or “Mother’s Sorrow,” was inspired by the couple’s family experiences. Grieg states in his journals: “Nina has been the only true interpreter of my songs…My songs came to life naturally and through a necessity like that of a natural law, and all of them were written for her.” Because Nina sang all of her husband’s songs, each composition became an outlet of emotional expression for her as much as for the composer himself. This is one such example.