Had it not been for those pesky Borromeos,

...the Pope might still be holding orgies. I’ve had a fever all afternoon, so I stayed in bed part of the afternoon instead of going to CES, and I’ve learned some amazing things.

The Borromeos were one of the ruling houses of Italy during the Renaissance, and several of their most prominent members were Cardinals in the Catholic Church. Carlo Borromeo in particular was a noted reformer. He became the Archbishop of Milan, and reformed the whole city. He tried and found some of the Jesuits in the area to be guilty of "unnatural offenses" (coincidentally, they also happened to be his political enemies). He also helped to organize the council of Trent. Overall, he was a pretty cool guy - he helped lots of poor people and fed the hungry. He also burned 150 people alive for practicing witchcraft. That's not very cool. 

Carlo happened to have a nephew, Gesualdo, who he encouraged to become a monk. Gesualdo was a prodigy, and probably insane as well. He was something of a rock star in his day. His fame was cemented when he murdered his wife and her lover with a knife and mutilated their corpses. He was never charged for the crime (after all, it was just his wife). Later in his life was rumored to keep attractive young maids and manservants around that he forced to submit to his sadistic whims. Also, he made beautiful church music. 

 

Having a fever has opened up delusions in my brain. I’m listening to Gesualdo’s madrigals right now, and they are taking on a 3D appearance. Sometimes a voice darts out from the piece as if it were in the room, speaking to me. It’s frightening. Part of me enjoys it and part of me wants it to stop. It makes my stomach roil.

https://youtu.be/Z3FJxDsa-5k

I started listening to Gesualdo because I am reading Aldous Huxley’s “The Doors of Perception,” and he mentions Gesualdo’s madrigals being a bridge back to humanity.
Look at that sculpture of the Veiled Christ? Does it give you chills? Huxley also talks about the universality of billowing robes in artwork. This is the perfect example of that. He talks about how much he enjoys the wrinkles in his grey felt pants. I get that.

I really wish my dad were around so I could call him right now. I would have him listen to Gesualdo’s music. I would send him this video of Thomas Tallis’ music:

https://youtu.be/36Y_ztEW1NE