Giacomo Carissimi (1605-1674) is best known for these two additions to the early oratorio genre, and so it is no surprise to find them recorded together on this release. What is a surprise, and a pleasant one at that, is to see that this version of Jonas contains previously unrecorded material - the arias 'Sed frustra gementes' and 'Clamor hinc et inde luctus' and the duet 'Et Dii non erant.' There portions of the work are in a manuscript now located in the Czech Republic, and it is indeed fortunate that a recording of the more complete work now exists.
...New Trinity Baroque, performing beautifully as always on period instruments, accompanies the vocal parts simply and tastefully. Despite its length of only 30 seconds, the opening sinfonia, in its dramatic restraint and sense of ensemble, sets the tone for the rest of the recording.
...the instrumental portion of the recording is consistently delightful... The Oxford Chorale... does an admirable job in the choral sections, most notably in 'Fugite, cedite impiii' and the closing 'Plorate filii Israel&' in Jephte... On the whole, the duet and trio sections provide some of the loveliest moments in either work, as it the aforementioned 'Et Dii non errant,' which features Julia Matthews and Elizabeth Packard Arnold. It must be said, though, that Julia Matthews's rendition of the nameless daughter in Jephte is particularly beautiful - definitely a highlight of the recording.
Of the two oratorios, Jephte is stronger, both in its dramatic presentation and in its musical precision. However, this is certainly a recording that would provide a great introduction to either work and would be a welcome addition to any Carissimi-lover's collection. Well done. --Early Music America, Spring 2009