WoO 108: An einen Säugling

"An einen Säugling," (To a Baby) WoO 108, is one of Beethoven's earliest known compositions, preceded only by six works for piano, one work for organ, and a song, "Schilderung eines Mädchens," WoO 107. Published by H. P. Bossler (Speyer, 1784?) as part of Neue Blumenlese für Klavierliebhaber (a volume of works for amateur pianists), "An einen Säugling" would remain unknown until Beethoven achieved greater fame in Europe and interest in his earlier works increased.

The poem (probably by Johann von Döring)--which deals with the relationship between a baby, its mother, and God--is a curious choice for a twelve-year-old boy, and was perhaps selected for Beethoven by his teacher, Christian Gottlob Neefe. Beethoven's setting is strophic and relatively simple, but it shows that, at the age of twelve, he had already mastered the fundamentals of eighteenth-century German Lieder.

(John Palmer, Rovi, answers.com)