The wolf had crossed the international boundary line at about the point where it intersected the thirtieth minute of the one hundred and eighth meridian and she had crossed the old Nations road a mile north of the boundary and followed Whitewater Creek west up into the San Luis Mountains and crossed through the gap north to the Animas range and then crossed the Animas Valley and on into the Peloncillos as told. She carried a scabbedover wound on her hip where her mate had bitten her two weeks before somewhere in the mountains of Sonora. He’d bitten her because she would not leave him. Standing with one forefoot in the jaws of a steeltrap and snarling at her to drive her off where she lay just beyond the reach of the chain. She’d flattened her ears and whined and she would not leave. In the morning they came on horses. She watched from a slope a hundred yards away as he stood up to meet them.
She wandered the eastern slopes of the Sierra de la Madera for a week. Her ancestors had hunted camels and primitive toy horses on these grounds. She found little to eat. Most of the game was slaughtered out of the country. Most of the forest cut to feed the boilers of the stampmills at the mines. The wolves in that country had been killing cattle for a long time but the ignorance of the animals was a puzzle to them. The cows bellowing and bleeding and stumbling through the mountain meadows with their shovel feet and their confusion, bawling and floundering through the fences and dragging posts and wires behind. The ranchers said they brutalized the cattle in a way they did not the wild game. As if the cows evoked in them some anger. As if they were offended by some violation of an old order. Old ceremonies. Old protocols.
She crossed the Bavispe River and moved north. She was carrying her first litter and she had no way to know the trouble she was in. She was moving out of the country not because the game was gone but because the wolves were and she needed them. —Cormac McCarthy The Crossing
On 19 January 1936, Paul Hindemith travelled to London, intending to play his viola concerto Der Schwanendreher, with Adrian Boult and the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Queen’s Hall, on 22 January. This was to be the British premiere of the work.
However, just before midnight on 20 January, King George V died. The concert was cancelled, but Boult and the BBC music producer Edward Clark still wanted Hindemith’s involvement in any music that was broadcast in its place. They debated for hours what might be a suitable piece, but nothing could be found, so it was decided that Hindemith should write something new. The following day, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Hindemith sat in an office made available to him by the BBC and wrote Trauermusik in homage to the late king. It was written for viola and string orchestra (Der Schwanendreher employs a larger complement that includes woodwinds). Trauermusik was performed that evening in a live broadcast from a BBC radio studio, with Boult conducting and the composer as soloist.
Trauermusik consists of four very short movements. The first movement is marked Langsam. The second movement (Ruhig bewegt) is less than a minute in length and the third is only slightly longer. The last movement is the heart of the work and in it, Hindemith quotes the chorale “Vor deinen Thron tret’ ich hiermit” (“Here I stand before Thy throne”), well known in Germany via the harmonisation by Johann Sebastian Bach. Hindemith was unaware at the time, but the tune was very familiar in England as the “Old 100th“, to the words “All people that on Earth do dwell”.
The Swiss philanthropist and music patron Werner Reinhart, to whom Hindemith had dedicated his Clarinet Quintet in 1923, later told Gertrud Hindemith “there was something Mozartian” about her husband’s writing Trauermusik in half a day, and premiering it the same day. “I know no one else today who could do that”, he said.