An Honest Description of Myself with a Glass of Whiskey at An Airport, Let Us Say, in Minneapolis, by Czeslaw Milosz

My ears catch less and less of conversations, and my eyes have weakened, though they are still insatiable.

I see their legs in miniskirts, slacks, wavy fabrics.

Peep at each one separately, at their buttocks and thighs, lulled by the imaginings of porn.

Old lecher, it’s time for you to the grave, not to the games and amusements of youth.

But I do what I have always done: compose scenes of this earth under orders from the erotic imagination.

It’s not that I desire these creatures precisely; I desire everything, and they are like a sign of ecstatic union.

It’s not my fault that we are made so, half from disinterested contemplation, half from appetite.

If I should accede one day to Heaven, it must be there as it is here, except that I will be rid of my dull senses and my heavy bones.

Changed into pure seeing, I will absorb, as before, the proportions of human bodies, the color of irises, a Paris street in June at dawn, all of it incomprehensible, incomprehensible the multitude of visible things.

(translated from the Polish by Robert Hass and Czeslaw Milosz)

My favorite Mahler recordings

I'm posting this in celebration of Mahler's birthday (July 7th, 1860). These preferences change all the time; and there's a lot of Boulez here because the series he recorded over the last decade or so made things so CLEAR. They are great 'study' recordings. With age I seem to prefer the clarity.

Bernstein's recordings are an old preference from discovering Mahler in my teens. And a few years ago I picked up his full cycle with the Vienna Phil that was recorded between his two cycles for Columbia/Sony and DG - I think it's a great cycle, in addition to getting to watch him perform.

And Barbirolli is another old fave - slow tempos that somehow stay exciting.

1st - Bernstein, NYPhil
2nd - Bernstein, NYPhil
3rd - Horenstein, LSO
4th - Bernstein, NYPhil
5th - Boulez, Vienna
6th - Barbirolli, New Philharmonia
  (but I also like the Mitropoulos, NYPhil)
7th - Boulez, Cleveland
8th - Boulez, Berlin
Das Lied - Kletzki, Philharmonia
    (Fischer-Dieskau, Dickie)
9th - Barbirolli, Berlin
10th - Rattle, Bournemouth

Honorable mentions:

Tennstedt's complete set
Bernstein's complete DVD cycle with Vienna
  (recorded between his two CD cycles)
The NY Phil set of historic Mahler recordings

other good recordings of the 6th:
Boulez, Horenstein, Szell