SIR FRANCIS GWYNNE-EVANS Bt seldom used his title, preferring to be known as Francis Loring. As such he had a distinguished career as a singer specialising in lieder and was noted for his translations into English from the original German. His paper 'Song - in Original Language or Translation?' (1974) is an interesting and informative point of reference on the subject.
Loring studied with Joseph Hislop, making his debut with Glyndebourne Opera at the Edinburgh Festival, and later appearing on television and radio. He sang with the English Opera Group at Aldeburgh and at the Three Choirs Festival and worked with such accompanists as Gerald Moore, Martin Penny and Paul Hamburger, and gave many recitals of Schubert song-cycles for the Schubert Society. His Die Winterreise opened the new Lancaster Hall in Paddington in October 1973 and the hall is still the home for the Schubertiades of the Schubert Society. He recorded for Meridian Records with the recording engineer John Shuttleworth.
In 1972 Loring gave a series of 20 recitals at churches and cathedrals to mark the centenary of Ralph Vaughan Williams, with the final concert at Lambeth Palace in the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the following year saw a series of recitals by Loring for the Poetry Society and the Schubert Society to mark the centenary of Walter de la Mare.
At his former Sussex home at Mayhurst, Loring sang and introduced young soloists and instrumental groups on the threshold of a professional career in music. He linked these to exhibitions of paintings and sculptures by his talented second wife Gloria.
Loring was keen on restoring pianos and his St John's Wood studio was filled with instruments by the greatest makers. The first Bluthner at the Lancaster Hall was entrusted to him for attention and was much admired for its beautiful tone and action.
I have been secretary of the Schubert Society since its inception in 1957 and through the Seventies Loring sang regularly for us, covering a wide range of Schubert's vocal repertoire, giving freely of his time and experience, and I acknowledge the debt we owe him for his support and encouragement. The society's Schubertiade on Sunday 20 February at Lancaster Hall is to be given by Catrin Wyn-Davies, winner of the Anglo-Austrian Music Society's 1993 Richard Tauber Prize, and will honour the memory of Francis Loring.
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