Reviewed by Steven Whitehead
There are two oratorios and one serenade on this CD. The musicianship, by the Carissimi specialists Consortium Carissimi, is excellent and the music decidedly tuneful. However your reviewer is abashed to confess that he was happily tapping his toes to the opening oratorio, "The Story Of Jephthah", when he remembered what the story is about. It is in the book of Judges and, if you will forgive the paraphrase, it tells how a psychopath by the name of Jephthah made a deal with God so that, if God granted him victory in battle, Jephthah would sacrifice the first thing he met on his return home. Tragically, it is the daughter of Jephthah who meets him and then insists that her father fulfils his vow. Not a happy story and, lovely though the music is, I am not sure that the tunes fit the words. Well worth hearing, though, as is the following Serenade, "From The Most Hidden Abysses" that features some glorious bass singing. The closing Oratorio is "The Story Of Jonas" although not quite the version found in the Bible as the librettist has taken some liberties. Again, readers who enjoy early choral music will enjoy this CD, especially at the generous price of £4-99.
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