The text of the Laudate Dominum forms the entire Psalm 116 in the Vulgate Bible (Psalm 117 in other versions). It is the shortest of the one hundred fifty psalms, comprising only two verses, preceded by an Alleluia. The text is suitable for any liturgical services outside Quadragesima and Lent. The psalm may be translated, “Alleluia. Praise the Lord, all you nations: praise him, all you people. For his mercy is confirmed upon us: and his truth remains forever.”
Bonnal’s setting is for SATB choir and organ. The nature of the choral writing throughout seems to indicate that this work may have been originally conceived for a choir consisting of three voices, without alto. The work’s first section begins with a fugal-like entry of the three voices in C major. After a brief modulation, a middle part in F minor commences with a line for the basses that is more or less repeated in the major key by the entire choir. With a return to the principal key there is a final section in which the work’s opening motif is heard once again. A coda for solo organ brings this festive psalm setting to a sturdy conclusion.