Carissimi’s Jephte and Jesuit Spirituality

April 1, 2019


The lament that ends Jacomo Carissimi’s Jephte is frequently anthologized and taught in undergraduate surveys, and is justly famous for its emotional impact. Although it is generally thought to have been composed for performance at the Oratorio del Santissimo Crocifisso in Rome, Jephte could later have been used in other settings. Carissimi’s strong ties to the Collegio Germanico-Ungarico and its associated church encourage a reconsideration of the lament through a lens of Jesuit spirituality. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises (1522–24) inspired the use of visual art and drama to facilitate its participatory processes, and the daughter’s lament and the chorus that end Jephte can serve a similar function.

Vincent P. Benitez
Expand article
2235 Last modified on April 15, 2020