This concise but vivid setting of the very short Psalm 116 is found in two posthumous sources: a simple version in Gasparo Casati’s Raccolta di motetti a 1, 2, 3 voci
(1651) and a more ornamented one in the Messa a quattro voci et salmi
of the same year. The latter probably has more authority and must be closer to what a contemporary singer would have sung. The doxology (‘Gloria Patri’) is set to a descending chord sequence heard three times in F major and then three times in A minor—another example of Monteverdi’s preoccupation with ground-bass techniques in his later music.
from notes by Peter Holman © 1981