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33.  Mahler: 5th Symphony

[…] you consult psychiatrists and philosophers when things aren’t going well
and whores when they are.
society should realize the value of the whore
- I mean, those girls who really enjoy their work -
those who make it almost an art form. 
I’m thinking of the time in a Mexican whorehouse
this gal with her little bowl and her rag washing my dick,
I got on and we worked easily, no effort, no tension,
and some guy beat on the door and yelled,
“Hey! what the hell’s going on in there? Hurry it up!”
but it was like a Mahler symphony — you just don’t rush it.
when I finished and she came back, there was the bowl and the rag again
and we both laughed; 
I got up and put my clothes back on and walked out
“Jesus, buddy, what the hell were ya doin’ in there?”
“Fuckin’,” I told the gentleman
and walked down the hall
and down the steps and stood outside in the road
and lit one of those sweet Mexican cigarettes in the moonlight.
liberated and human again for a mere $3,
I loved the night, Mexico and myself.

Excerpt from Society Should Realize by Charles Bukowski 

In his poem Up Your Yellow River Bukowksi wrote: […] “I’m listening to Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto number one and the announcer said Mahler’s 5th and 10th symphonies are coming up via Amsterdam.” Like many people, Bukowski liked Mahler’s Fifth with its famous 4th movement.

Recommended recording:
Bernard Haitink & Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra

Haitink and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra rule when it comes to Mahler. Bukowski refers to them for good reason. Still, I feel bad for not picking Bernstein’s legendary recording with the Vienna PO.

Lenny was obsessed with Mahler’s 5th. There’s awesome footage on YouTube of his rehearsals with the Vienna PO. A charismatic Bernstein walks in like he owns the Goddamn place and no one leaves until Mahler’s last drop of sweat has been captured in sound. When Bernstein died, they placed the sheet music of the 5th in his coffin. In case he could put them to use where he is right now.  



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