Homeless man turns haunting noises in his head into Symphony
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Homeless man turns haunting noises in his head into Symphony – Daily Express Thursday May 2nd 2013 by Mike Ridley
…... Stuart Sharp’s remarkable quest to evoke the sound he first heard as a boy led him to a life as a down and out before becoming a millionaire businessman. It meant he could afford to employ the Philharmonia Orchestra of London to translate the music he heard into a haunting symphony which has been described as a work of genius.
Stuart’s Angeli Symphony is even more remarkable because while living rough on the streets of London he taught himself to play music after he bought a battered guitar from a second-hand shop...
Stuart, 68, reveals how he first heard the angelic orchestra in a dream as a boy in 1956. Years later he heard it again after his baby son died at birth. He was so haunted by the music he quit his job as cook in a Leicestershire country pub, left his wife and two daughters and moved to London where he played it on his guitar and recorded it on an old tape recorder at a homeless hostel.
….The [music] had a dramatic effect on Stuart’s life, which changed for ever when his wife Jo gave birth in 1975 to their second child. Doctors were forced to perform a forceps delivery when it went wrong. An hour later their son Ben was pronounced dead and his wife underwent four hours of surgery to save her life.
That night in a dream his angelic music returned in a vision that would become his obsession. This time he would not forget a single note and the experience would dominate his life for the next three decades.
He explains: “In my dream I was back at Ben’s graveside staring down at his tiny white coffin. I heard distant angelic music with choirs, violins, cellos, horns and harps that grew in intensity and I gasped as Ben’s spirit rose slowly through the coffin. I couldn’t bring myself to see him in the mortuary. I didn’t have the courage.”
After a series of life-saving operations it was more than a year before his wife’s health recovered and the couple adopted a baby girl, Kate.
Stuart continued to work as a cook but every day was haunted by the mind music from his vision, throwing him into a deep depression. Despite possessing no musical ability he knew he had to find a way to write it down for an orchestra to record.
He says: “The visions became intolerable. As I closed my eyes I saw, clearly, the journey ahead in great detail. It was as if I was an actor in a movie and nothing was real any more. If I’d continued working at the pub I knew I would never live long enough to see Emma and Kate grow up. The time had come to leave for London, as the vision required. Jo couldn’t deal with my decision, knowing it would ruin our little family unit.
“She was very upset and warned, ‘It’s a journey into the unknown with no safety net. Who’s going to pay the mortgage? You’ll send us into bankruptcy!’”
But for Stuart there was no turning back and he left for London, at first living in his battered Ford Cortina in the car park of a squash club, then selling the car, sleeping wherever he could at night and wandering the streets by day.
“I didn’t see myself as a vagrant. In my mind I was a composer although I’d had no training and I couldn’t even play an instrument.”
Nosing around back street stores, his travels took a fateful turn at a second-hand furniture shop in Grosvenor Parade, Ealing Common. .....He spotted a guitar inside but says: “My hopes were dashed when I saw it had a price tag of £5. After haggling I acquired it for the £3.50 I had in my pocket. ..... “Eventually I taught myself to play that guitar and the complex compositions in my head started to flow out. I saw this as a powerful signal that I was on the right path.”
Later, Stuart was sitting on the pavement outside the BBC Television Centre in London when a jazz pianist called Anthony Wade stopped to chat to him.
Stuart says: “There was something special about this man. I told him my life story and he offered me accommodation for a while. His generosity was overwhelming. He listened to my tape and concluded that if the angels’ music was recorded by a major orchestra I would have a masterpiece.”
Stuart vowed that one day he would amass enough money to finance the music. For the next 15 years he worked flat out to earn the hundreds of thousands of pounds that he needed.
He became a night manager and breakfast cook at a hostel for the homeless and went out knocking on doors as a commission-only salesman during the day.
“It was [through] gruelling work without a break and lots of luck that I finally got the money together to employ the studios and one of the world’s best orchestras to record my symphonies,” he says modestly.
Stuart has been on his own since he left home but is still in touch with his daughters Emma and Kate. His wife Jo remarried but is now divorced.
He says: “I have never expected Jo to forgive me. She still remains the one true love in my life. The courage she showed throughout her terrible ordeals is truly inspirational.”
Conductor Allan Wilson says: “Stuart insisted the London Philharmonia was the only orchestra he would accept to record his music. He was totally oblivious to the fact that such an under taking is usually reserved for film and music moguls, or firmly established composers.
“Here was a man who, some years earlier, was a penniless non-musician living in a hostel for the homeless.
I’m embarrassed to say his demo tape lay on my desk for a number of weeks before I listened to it. I didn’t relish the phone call I’d have to make to break the bad news. However, very late one night I put aside an hour to listen to the tape and the first few bars grabbed my attention to the point where I leaned in closer to the speakers in total surprise and amazement.
The piece was so full of anguish, pain and intense musical passion that I felt I was looking directly into this man’s heart. I have to admit I was stunned. As long as I live I’ll never forget how, at the recording, the entire orchestra of nearly 80 musicians gave Stuart a huge, heartfelt round of applause. I’ve never seen any orchestra anywhere in the world give any composer an ovation like that before.”
Stuart says: “The music took my breath away because it sounded exactly how I’d heard it in my vision. I was back with the angels. It was just perfect.”
The source of the experienceOrdinary person
Concepts, symbols and science items
Activities and commonsteps
To order The Angels by Stuart J Sharp (Olympia Publishers) at £7.99 send a cheque or PO made payable to Express Bookshop to: Stuart Sharp Offer, PO Box 200, Falmouth TR11 4WJ or tel 0871 988 8367