|Numinous The Music of Joseph C. Phillips Jr.
The Numinosum Blog
This post is the fourth in a series profiling some of the inspirations and thoughts behind the six movements of my composition Changing Same premiering March 16th, 2013 at the Ecstatic Music Festival in New York City. Previous posts in the series featured:
“The Most Beautiful Magic”
I don't remember the first time I heard something from Prince and the Revolution's Purple Rain, but I definitely remember friends coming back to school raving about the tour in 1984 and it's sold-out two-week legendary run at my local arena (regretfully I didn't go and it would be another 10 years or so before I saw Prince live for the first time). Back in the day, before he started being more accessible to interviews and public appearances Prince was this decidedly enigmatic yet strangely compelling figure in my consciousness. Shortly after the album came out I was sitting in my cousin's room one day and listening to the LP (remember the time when one would actually stop the world spinning to sit down and spend time listening); now I'm sure it wasn't the first time I heard songs from the album, since almost everything was on rotation on the radio, but it was the most memorable: reading the LP liner notes, debating who was better, Michael Jackson or Prince, and constantly spinning the record backwards when it got to the end of "Purple Rain" and "Darling Nikki" trying to decode the messages from the ether. It would be another few years before I actually saw the movie, adding another layer of mystery behind Prince and the album.
Looking back, this seminal 1984 album was a major influence on my personal musical development. As a young teenager listening to the then just released Purple Rain was revelatory. With its virtuosic and vertiginous mixture of rock, funk, R&B, pop, and electronica, Prince’s “Minneapolis sound” was a perspicacious vision of music as an integrated fusion of styles and genres that wholly resonated with my own nascent mixed music aesthetics, philosophies, and aspirations. “Purple Rain,” “Beautiful Ones,” and “Computer Blue,” three songs from Purple Rain, are the deep structures that help build “The Most Beautiful Magic,” with the emotional inspiration coming from Richard and Mildred Loving. The Lovings were the couple at the center of the landmark June 12, 1967 Supreme Court decision, Loving v. Virginia, effectively ending America’s miscegenation laws banning interracial marriages. “The Most Beautiful Magic” title is a quote from the movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince where one character describes the singular beauty that comes from a basic and simple (magical) act. This seemed appropriate to describe the affirmative power and courage of the Lovings to marry despite unjust laws legally denying them the opportunity to do so. As Mildred Loving explained in a speech celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, their act of defiance “wasn't to make a political statement or start a fight. We were in love, and we wanted to be married.”1
"The Most Beautiful Magic" is dedicated to my wife.
1. This statement from Mildred Loving was prepared for the 40th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision. See http://www.freedomtomarry.org/pdfs/mildred_loving-statement.pdf.
POSTED BY NUMINOUS AT 10:00 AM
To all things that create a sense of wonder and beauty that inspires and enlightens.