Ternura Antiga was introduced in late 1960 by Lucienne Franco at the Festival das Dez Mais Lindas Canções de Amor, issued on record as Festival do Rio – As Dez Mais Lindas Canções de Amor.
In late 1959, after Dolores Duran had died at the age of just 29, her friend Marisa Gata Mansa handed an unfinished poem of Duran over to composer and pianist Ribamar to compose a song in remembrance of her. The resulting Ternura Antiga was introduced with the highly emotional interpretation by Luciene Habib Franco Freitas Câmara who was still a relative newcomer at that time.
The Festival das Dez Mais Lindas Canções de Amor, sponsored by Copacabana and hosted by TV Rio, was one of the first song contests that would gain such huge popularity in the years to come. The finals took place on 10th of November 1960 at the Tijuca Tênis Clube in Rio de Janeiro, presenting the ten songs that qualified among the more of 1000 contest entries, performed by Miltinho, Jorge Goulart, Zezé Gonzaga, Roberto Silva, Ernani Filho, Carlos José, Agnaldo Rayol, Lenita Bruno. Lucienne Franco and Ted Moreno.
Ternura Antiga was critically acclaimed even though the song finished as runner-up losing to Canção em Tom Maior, written by Ary Barroso and performed by Ted Moreno. Interestingly, despite this success, Lucienne Franco’s original was released in March of 1961 only as B-Side to Poema do Adeus—her version of Miltinho’s entry for the contest. It may well be because of this that Tito Madi’s rendition turned out to become the most successful version of Ternura Antiga and one of the big hits of 1961.
The subtle arrangement of the original by José Pacheco Lins aka Pachequinho was reused on both his own recording of Ternura Antiga and Lucienne Franco’s re-recording with French lyrics, titled Anciene Tendresse.
Apart from compelling vocal renditions like Franco’s original as well as the ones by Elza Laranjeira, Tito Madi, Nelson Gonçalves and Altemar Dutra, Araken Peixoto’s muted trumpet is probably the most haunting interpretation among the instrumental versions.
Ribamar himself recorded Ternura Antiga not until 1969, when he dedicated an entire album to the songs of Dolores Duran.
Selected recordings of Ternura Antiga:
1. Lucienne Franco from the album Festival do Rio – As Dez Mais Lindas Canções de Amor (1960, Copacabana CLP 11172) and the single Poema do Adeus b/w Ternura Antiga (1961, Copacabana 6.226)
2. Pachequinho from the album Música do Coração (1961, Copacabana CLP 11202)
3. Tito Madi from the album Romance (1961, Columbia LPCB 37197)
4. Elza Laranjeira from the album Elza Laranjeira Canta Sucessos (1961, RGE XRLP 5133)
5. Severino Araújo from the album Dance o Chá Chá Chá (1961, Continental LPP 3191)
6. Araken Peixoto from the album Araken Ontem e Hoje (1961, Discos Drink LP-DF-13.012)
7. Marisa Gata Mansa from the album Little Club Apresenta Marisa (1962, Copacabana CLP 11257)
8. Francisco José from the album Francisco José e os Sucessos de Ouro da Música Romântica Brasileira (1962, Philips P 632.100 L)
9. Lucienne Franco from the album Pelos Caminhos do Mundo (1963, Copacabana CLP 11309)
10. Nelson Gonçalves from the album Na voz de Nelson Gonçalves (1963, RCA Victor BBL 1231)
11. Altemar Dutra from the EP Mensagem de Altemar Dutra (1968, Odeon DP-404) and the album O Romântico (1970, Odeon MOFB 3624)
12. Ribamar from the album Ribamar Interpreta Dolores Duran (1969, RCA Camden CALB 5231)
13. Waleska from the album Waleska na Fossa (1971, Copacabana CLP 11657)
14. Áurea Martins from the album O Amor em Paz (1972, RCA Camden 107.0129)
Selected medleys including Ternura Antiga:
1. Sandoval Dias from the album Sandoval Dias e Seu Sax Dançante (1962, Philips P 632.109 L)
2. Gerson King Combo, Amaro & Os Diagonais from the album Brazilian Soul (1970, Polydor LPNG 44.057)
3. Quarteto em Cy from the album Antologia so Samba Canção (1975, Philips 6349 133)
Ai, a rua escura, o vento frio • Esta saudade, este vazio • Esta vontade de chorar
Ai, tua distância tão amiga • Esta ternura tão antiga • E o desencanto de esperar
Sim, eu não te amo porque quero • Ai, se eu pudesse esqueceria • Vivo, e vivo só porque te espero • Ai, esta amargura, esta agonia