Obituary Richard Soar / Barn Elms

05/19/2009 - 18:15

I'm sad to let forums members know that Richard Soar, known on the old Italymag forum as Barn Elms, died suddenly last week of a brain haemorrage. His funeral will be held in the UK - details are still to be confirmed.He was an inspiring friend, and Abruzzo will be poorer without his passion for so many aspects of its culture. He will be sadly missed by all his friends here.


I was about to write to him when I heard about the sad news, We had been corresponding quite a bit lately regarding the "coperti abruzzese", regional textiles and also his other research on Russian Opera. I also wrote to him when the earthquake happened to see ho he was managing.A very sad loss as he also had great plans for Abruzzo and the coperti he was collecting. In his last PM to me he sent me a photograph of a new style he had found which copied lace motifs from the area.May he rest in peace and my sympathy to all those who cared about him.

Barn Elms was very kind to me as a newbie. I am truly sorry to hear the news.Your beautiful avatar reminded me of this poem...Do not stand at my grave and weep,I am not there, I do not sleep.I am in a thousand winds that blow,I am the softly falling snow.I am the gentle showers of rain,I am the fields of ripening grain.I am in the morning hush,I am in the graceful rushOf beautiful birds in circling flight,I am the starshine of the night.I am in the flowers that bloom,I am in a quiet room.I am in the birds that sing,I am in each lovely thing.Do not stand at my grave and cry,I am not there. I do not die.

Very sorry to hear about Richard. When I read the posting earlier today, I was totally shocked, as we had only spoken to him on the telephone about 3 weeks ago and having also met him last year, found him very interesting. He will be missed, especially with his enthusiasm over many cultural subjects and his love of his dogs, which is one of the main subjects he used to discuss.Our deepest sympathy and condolences to his family members in the UK.

Many thanks to the posters, I know Richard's family appreciate the kind words of his friends in Italy.  I've passed a link to this thread to them.Please pass this on to other friends who may not have heard the news yet.

but i did know his love for his dogs... and his love for life here... also his cranky sometimes abrupt ways... a person who did not suffer fools impression... i will miss his popping in and out with his various surprises... the dogs being one most of all my sympathy goes to his family...  i knew him as an internet entity that i had a deal of respect have lost much more than i

In reply to by Moxie

Thanks Moxie.Only last night, we were discussing what would happen to the pups. We would have taken one, if it wasn't for the fact that our dog is over 2 years old and may have not liked a new addition to the family. In better circumstances, we could have tried and at least seen the reaction on a meeting.We do hope that the other one gets a new home very soon. Our thanks once again to you for at least giving one of them a home and lets hope that his sister gets the same response as quickly.Thanks also to Tuesdaysue for the information about the plight of the dogs. 

 I am very glad to hear that you are looking after the male pup, Moxie. Just post some pics when you will have him at home. We have seen them in photos since they were born. It brought tears to my eyes.

W e  where so terribly sorry to hear about Richard, its hard to belive, we meet because of his interest in the coperti abruzzese,  He had so many interests , I really hope his dogs find very good homes.

 As Chardonnay mentioned, Richard was very involved in this project and we corresponded several times on the topic. I don't think that he would mind if I let you all know about this project that he had. This is part of his message:QUOTE........and the various decisions that I am having to make with regard to this project are based on an understanding of the situation through having visited the factories, spoken to the owners, bought material, been given pattern books, catalogues and artefacts, and been offered more including a full size automated Jacquard loom. The important question of conserving the punch-card programs rests on my winning the confidence of three separate long-established italian textile manufacturing families. It is not a question of asking once, being given them and then storing them under the bed. There is a huge quantity in total, there is the question of the copyright of the designs, there is obvious concern on their part that I'll simply take them all back to England and so it requires tact, diplomacy and an ability to convince them of my complete integrity, before I can achieve my aim of preserving a part of this region's industrial and cultural heritage. Whether the museum idea ever extends beyond the second of my two houses is an unknown at present. I do have contacts within the Regional Dept of Culture as well as within the Comune of Sulmona and am very well aware of the procedures that one needs to follow. .......UNQUOTEI would really love to see his project turning into reality; however, I do think that his precious input was vital. Personally, I would love to see the museum being created in his memory. I can only regret that we are not in Abruzzo to help.

Thanks for the comments, Gala and Chardonnay.  I also helped Richard with the coperte project, and agree it would be good to see his dream realised, at least in as far as it can be without him behind it.I have already made some enquiries about possibilities for displaying Richard's collection and research, and I've mentioned it to Richard's family, but I think they have a bit much on their plate to think about it just yet. Watch this space.

 Thank you for letting us know, Tuesdaysue. It is understandable that Richard's family will be still under shock as I think we all are. I remember that a few hours after the earthquake I sent him a message to see whether he was fine and he gave me a poignant description of what the earthquake was all about. He compared it to being on a ship at sea in the middle of a storm. He was also concerned about the dogs as they were pretty scared.I do hope his dream about the museum will become a reality.

I was so so sad to hear about Richard especially as he should have been meeting me in Rome yesterday so that I could stay with him. I would be really grateful if anyone has the funeral arrangements (I know it may have been held already) and also any contact with his daughters.I appreciated your comments and would love to hear from anyone.

 Christina, I have sent you  a pm/private message.  Check your post here.  regards, sempre_italia

From Kenneth Babb and Kaila Rochelle, are very sorry to hear about the passing of Richard Soar. He was a most interesting and knowledgeable person.  My pianist colleague, Kaila Rochelle, and I have been working with Richard on a Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf recording project.  We last heard from him around the end of April. Kaila noticed that a link we included from our web site to his Barn Elms 'Maddox Petrovsky Repertoire Project' web site no longer works. I googled the net and discovered Richard's Obituary notice on your 'Italy Community' web page.  Here is a link to our Dittersdorf multimedia web page;   Regarding the Dittersdorf piano works presented at our web site, Richard wrote:   "...I am absolutely delighted with them and would very much like to know whether you both have any favourites? I'm playing them repeatedly and several have already made an immediate impression, others are growing on me quickly.Thanks again to both of you for all the hard work - I will try to contain my eagerness now to hear the remaining 17! Best regards,Richard ..." Richard authored the script for our Dittersdorf  bio movie presentation; "A Tale Of A Musician and Composer."   Our condolences to his family. He spoke often of them in his emails.    Regards,Kenneth Babb   Kaila Rochelle       

I intended visiting Richard last September but time just run out. I'm so sorry now that we didn't meet as I found his posts fascinating and I hugely admired what he was trying to do in Italy.I hope at least his last years in Abruzzo brought him pleasure and not only pain! I know he was battling with various builders and other workmen but I do hope once he'd got up on the beautiful mountains with the flowers and birds he loved he felt all his worries disolve away .

In reply to by myabruzzohome

I've received an email from Lorna Richardson of PropertiesAroundItaly who advises as follows:-"We sold a lovely large house to an English gentleman who wished to retire here and run a B and B business in Italy, he has therefore furnished the entire property with nice new furniture, beds, sofa, drawer units etc etc, however sadly he did not realise his dream and has died suddenly.   His family have now instructed us to sell the property and its contents.    As you can no doubt understand we would like to be able to obtain as much as possible for them, especially under the circumstances, therefore in this connection I thought first to all of you who are trying to furnish your properties and rather than go all the way to Pescara etc perhaps some of this furniture would suit your needs.     I have the keys to the property and plan to take pictures of the items available, also if you are planning to come here soon then I would be happy to take you to the property and you can then make an offer for anything which is of interest to you.    In the event that your property is not yet restored we would just mark the item sold to you and then it could be taken to your property when you are ready for it. This gentleman was also collecting Abruzzo throwovers/rugs, which are typical to this region, therefore these are also for sale at a lot less than you would pay in the local shops, if any of these are of interest to you, they are new and in many colours and sizes." If anyone wants their contact details they can PM me. 

....but certainly read many of his posts on a variety of interesting subjects. My (late) condolences to his family and friends.I note from the latest post that instructions have been given to sell the contents of his house, including his beloved collection of "coperti abruzzese". I'd hate to think that this collection might be broken up, when it was his dream to have these all housed in a museum one day.I am not sure what can be done to prevent this from happening and to keep his dream alive in his memory.He was clearly a well respected and learned member of the Abruzzese community and I really hope that a group or individual could pick up the threads that were so sadly left undone by his sudden passing.

Thanks for the vote of support, Russ, for the Coperte project.  We are, in fact, moving forward with this, as Richard's daughters have kindly agreed to donate a selection of the covers and associated material to a local museum collection in his memory.  We've been met by a positive response from the Abruzzan authorities so far and I'm cautiously optimistic that we'll find a good home for the collection as Richard planned.I'll report more info as things are decided.

In reply to by tuesdaysue

Thanks Sue for letting us all know. It is very kind of Richard's family to have allowed these to be donated in his memory.I do hope the powers that be, fulfil Richard's plans.