Ancient tradition suggests that this psalm was composed after the destruction of Sennacherib's army outside Jerusalem (2 Kings 19:35). The psalm's main theme develops in the opening and closing stanzas (vv. 1-3, 11-12; st. 1, 4): God defends Zion and makes his name known; God requires commitment, worship, and praise, even from the kings of the earth. The seven Hebrew lines (vv. 4-10) that link the psalm's framing verses celebrate God's awesome act of judgment that brought relief to Zion: God's unequaled power overcomes human might (st. 2), and not even human hostility can frustrate the plans of the God who pronounces judgment from heaven (st. 3). The theme of God's protection of Zion links this psalm with 46 and 48 (see also 84, 87, 122, 125, and 137). The versification is significantly revised from that in the 1912 Psalter.
John Goss composed LAUDA ANIMA (Latin for the opening words of Psalm 103) in 1868 for the text, “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven.” The tune was included in the appendix to Robert Brown-Borthwick's Supplemental Hymn and Tune Book (1869). LAUDA ANIMA is one of the finest tunes that arose out of the Victorian era. A reviewer in The Musical Times, June 1869, said, "It is at once the most beautiful and dignified hymn tune which has lately come under our notice."
Singers and accompanists will want to emphasize the melodic contours and not the marching rhythms emphasized by the bar lines.
The 1912 Psalter was the first ecumenical psalter published in the United States and the most widely used metrical psalter of the twentieth century in North America. The United Presbyterian Church invited all other Reformed and Presbyterian denominations to join them in the effort to provide a new versifications of the psalms; six Presbyterian denominations, as well as the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America joined in the effort in revising the 1887 Psalter (whose texts actually dated back to the 1871 Book of Psalms; the 1887 edition had added music to the texts.). The 1912 Psalter included all the psalms in 413 settings, eight doxologies, and the three Lukan canticles (Song of Mary, Song of Zechariah, and Song of Simeon).
John Goss (b. Fareham, Hampshire, England, 1800; d. London, England, 1880). As a boy Goss was a chorister at the Chapel Royal and later sang in the opera chorus of the Covent Garden Theater. He was a professor of music at the Royal Academy of Music (1827-1874) and organist of St. Paul Cathedral, London (1838-1872); in both positions he exerted significant influence on the reform of British cathedral music. Goss published Parochial Psalmody (1826) and Chants, Ancient and Modern (1841); he edited William Mercer's Church Psalter and Hymn Book (1854). With James Turle he published a two-volume collection of anthems and Anglican service music (1854).