Kenneth Loveland was born on 12 October 1915 in Sheerness, Kent, the son of Charles John Loveland, described in the 1911 census as a ‘salesman and outfitter’ (born c.1886), and his wife Winifred Jane (née Wraight c.1885). His first experience of music was through listening to the radio, but his subsequent encounters with live music at concerts at London's Queen's Hall left an indelible impression on him.
He was always a journalist: his first work was on local newspapers in Kent, and after war service in the army, he spent a brief period at a local paper in Luton. He then moved to Wales to work for the Newport-based evening paper the South Wales Argus. He worked for this paper in one capacity or other for the remainder of his life, and was its editor between 1951 and 1970. After he gave up the editorship he continued as its music critic, but was also a regular contributor to The Times, Opera magazine and several other periodicals. He was also a gifted travel writer and was commissioned to write pieces on the many major European festivals to which he travelled, including several dispatches from the Stuttgart Festival. He broadcast regularly on the radio, including the series ‘Musicians in Conversation’ for Radio Telefis Eireann, ‘Opus 9 o'clock’ for Radio 4 Wales, and contributions to Kaleidoscope and the BBC World Service.
Loveland was no musician, but his love and enthusiasm for music, as well as the accuracy of his musical antennae, were evident in all he wrote. His writings, though marked by the courtesy and absence of side that were the hallmarks of his character, were always dispassionate and objective. If he had an agenda to which he was pre-disposed, it could be found in his sincere regard for Welsh music and its institutions. Indeed, his contribution to the musical life of Wales in the second half of the twentieth century is difficult to over-state, and it was a contribution that earned credibility because of his personal reputation in the newspaper business. He was one of the most respected ‘regional’ music journalists and through the pages of The Times and Opera magazine particularly he conveyed the story of the development of musical life in Wales: Welsh National Opera (which he had first heard in 1947 and with which he was permanently smitten), the BBC Welsh Orchestra as it progressed to become the National Orchestra of Wales, and the music of many of Welsh composers - especially Daniel Jones, William Mathias and Alun Hoddinot. He also (probably with justification) claimed to have given the first press recognition to outstanding singers such as Geraint Evans, Gwyneth Jones and Margaret Price. Such advocacy might have been dismissed as the parochialism of a local reporter, but this never applied to Loveland, uprightly Home Counties to the core and widely known as one of the most urbane music critics, who could have occupied a position in any national daily.
Despite his urbanity and contrary to all appearances, he had fully adopted Wales as his home for the last four decades of his life. He and his wife Anne regularly entertained members of the Welsh National Opera Chorus at their modest apartment in Cwmbran. A concert given by the London Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Colin Davis was dedicated to him on his eightieth birthday, and he was proud of an Honorary Master of Music degree presented to him by the University of Wales in 1986. He died on 25 January 1998, and is buried at Llantilio Crossenny in Monmouthshire. The Kenneth Loveland Gift is a memorial fund which has supported young musicians since 2002.
Published date: 2017-08-07
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