John van Kesteren (Tenor)
Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works
See: John van Kesteren – Short Biography
Daniel Savino wrote (January 21, 2001):
[To Aryeh Oron] I have a question regarding a JSB singer that I hope you can help me with: When I was a teenager I heard a recording of the Cantata BWV 147 where the most incredible tenor was singing. Since them, his name was, in my mind, synonym of musical excellence. Later, and as a fortuitous coincidence, I bought an inexpensive version of St. John's Passion (BWV 245) where (this was a wonderful surprise to me) the VOICE was there, and as the evangelist, no less! Alas, I tried in vain to get a lot of records with this singer: he was an almost anonymous in all the Internet lists of singers or of recordings. In fact, he sang in only 2 of the Richter series (to which that original record of my teenage had belonged), a fact I considered utterly unfair since the "official" tenors in it, good as they are, still appear to my ears inferior to the one in question.
I am referring to Jon van Kesteren (also listed in some records as John van Kesteren).
Since I am not a musician I might be missing something that is obvious to a professional. Can you help me understand it? Thank you for your help.
Aryeh Oron wrote (January 21, 2001):
[To Daniel Savino] Following your message, I have done some small research and found out that Jon (John) van Kesteren participated in the following recordings of Bach Vocal Works (see John van Kesteren – Short Biography).
Curious by your message, I listened this afternoon to Johannes-Passion conducted by Scherchen in its entirety. During listening I have paid closer attention to the role of the Evangelist, although in any case it is unavoidable in the SJP, because a heavy weight and responsibility lay on his shoulders. Kesteren has a golden voice, penetrating and very expressive. He is so convincing in expressing the pain, the sufferings and the agony that I remained speechless. There were moments where he simply thorn my heart apart. I can fully understand why you do admire his voice, but he should be admired for his convincing expression as well. Hearing this recording gave me another opportunity to listen closely to Scherchen. He succeeds in combining and balancing the drama, the human feelings, care for details and precision and still be faithful to Bach and to himself. The choral parts have internal tension and clarity, which are almost unequalled by any other Bach conductor I know. The two concluding choral movements come from heaven. This SJP is now my preferred recording.
I do not have any biographical information about Kesteren. I would like to know more about him. My intention is to collect short biographies of performers of Bach Cantatas and Bach's Other Vocal Works and to put them in the Archive Site. I am looking now for sources for such material.
Daniel Savino wrote (January 27, 2001):
[To Aryeh Oron] Thank you very much for your thorough answer to my question and additional information provided. I appreciate your time and interest.
John van Kesteren: Short Biography | General Discussions