BBC Music Magazine
Also in January 1936
6th: At a packed Twickenham, England beats New Zealand at rugby union for the first time ever. The home side’s 13-0 win over the All Blacks includes two tries by winger Prince Alexander Obolevsky, the second of which – a darting cross-field run from right to left – goes on to become regarded as one of the finest ever scored in an England shirt.
11th: Benjamin Britten heads to the studio to conduct the recording of Night Mail, a documentary about the railway postal service in which his music is combined with poetry by WH Auden. The words are narrated in the same recording by the filmmaker Stuart Legg. On hearing the results, Britten declares his and Auden’s collaboration as ‘not at all bad’. 14th: Aviator Howard Hughes breaks the record for the fastest flight across the US. Piloting a single-engine Northrop Gamma plane, Hughes completes the journey from Burbank, California to Newark, New Jersey in nine hours, 27 minutes and ten seconds, beating the previous best time, held by Roscoe Turner, by 36 minutes.
18th: Less than a week after undergoing surgery for a haemorrhage in his small intestine, the poet and author Rudyard Kipling dies of a perforated duodenal ulcer. Pallbearers at his funeral include his cousin, the British prime minister Stanley Baldwin.
His ashes are buried at Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey, alongside the graves of Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens.
28th: An editorial in the Soviet newspaper Pravda describes Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District as ‘a muddle instead of music’. The paper’s view is believed to have come from Stalin, who attended the opera two days earlier but left before the end. Shostakovich responds by withdrawing his similarly discordant Fourth Symphony.