WoO 110: Elegie auf den Tod eines Pudels (Элегия на смерть пуделя), для голоса и фортепиано

Scholars believe Beethoven's Elegie auf den Tod eines Pudels, WoO 110, was composed sometime before 1793; Thayer suggests 1787. The song was not published until the 1860s, as part of the complete edition of Beethoven's works printed in Leipzig.

The Elegie auf den Tod eines Pudels (Elegy on the Death of a Poodle) boasts some of the most advanced formal characteristics of any of Beethoven's Bonn-era songs. The first two strophes are through-composed, which in itself is unusual because most of Beethoven's songs before 1800 were strophic. As the narrator reflects on the death of his pet, and on death's destruction of all earthly pleasures, the tempo remains slow, the piano accompaniment is pensive, and the atmosphere is tainted with minor harmonies. An abrupt change in mood after the second strophe divides the song into two sections, the second of which is organized in a unique manner.

The music of the first two lines of the third strophe returns for the last two lines of the fourth, creating a rounded musical structure within the song as a whole. Undoubtedly, the text suggested the change in mood and the musical coupling of the last two strophes. In the second half of the song, the narrator relates that his dog's death "will not sadden [him] too much," for he realizes that "no earthly joy remains unwept for long." Furthermore, the dog lives on in the master's heart and brings him happy memories.

(John Palmer, Rovi)