One of Brazil's earliest recording stars, Vicente Celestino (1894-1968) made his first record in 1916, although he was mainly known as a song stylist until decades later, when he started to write his own material. He remained popular throughout his life, and near the time of his death in 1968, he was honored in a tribute concert by no less than tropicalia firebrands Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso. Here's a quick look at his work...
Vicente Celestino "Vincente Celestino" (Revivendo)
This disc collects some of his best 1930s material on the RCA label -- corny, romantic and really appealing. Nice stuff, but more in the operatic tango and bolero camp than the other, more samba-centric material of the time. This includes the original 1937 version of Celestino's "Coracao Materno," which was later covered by tropicalista Caetano Veloso, as part of his efforts to reclaim and reinterpret the forerunners of Brazilian national music... Great stuff!
Vicente Celestino "Noite Cheia De Estrelas" (Revivendo, 1998)
Vicente Celestino "Mestres Da MPB" (Warner, 1999)
Vicente Celestino "In Memoriam" (BMG-RCA, 1999)
This single-disc collection tilts heavily towards Celestino's more Italianate, operatic leanings, and may be too bombastic and corny for the average listener... The sound quality is pretty good, but the music is kind of hard to take. No indication of when, specifically, these recordings date from, but they clearly overlap with the early work in the Revivendo collection reviewed above, just with even less of the samba influence to be heard.
Vicente Celestino "Em Suas Cancoes Celebres" (RCA, 1961/2001)
Horrendously schmaltzy later recordings by this legendary singer. This stuff is super-brega-plus; swooping and operatic, to an explicitly Italian degree. I had hoped that, like other volumes in BMG's "100 Anos" series, this CD would be a higher-fidelity collection of some of Celestino's classic work from the 1930s and '40s, but instead it's an ultra-florid, highly formalized set of Brazilian boleros. May be of interest to the historically-minded, but I think this lacks the spontaneity of his early work.
Vicente Celestino "A Voz Orgulho Do Brasil, v.1" (Revivendo, 2007)
Vicente Celestino "A Voz Orgulho Do Brasil, v.2" (Revivendo, 2007)
Vicente Celestino "A Voz Orgulho Do Brasil, v.3" (Revivendo, 2007)
Vicente Celestino "A Voz Orgulho Do Brasil, v.1-3" (Revivendo, 2007)
All three volumes, together as a box set.
Vicente Celestino "Mia Gioconda" (Revivendo, 2010)
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