Requiem for Dying Species is a collection of musical stories about four threatened species, all suffering from threats caused by human behaviour like ranching, poaching, by-catch, bushfires, and climate change.
The stories are told through soundscapes and interpretations of national traditions, animal sounds voiced with extended techniques and played on four different flutes.
Spix’s macaw is performed on the wooden traverso, inspired by the wildlife of the Brazilian tropical forest and flutter of bird wings.
White Rhino is played on the C flute and alludes to African drumming, dancing and singing punctuated by rhino stomps and grunts.
Vaquita Porpoise follows the playful underwater animal in the glittering Mexican Gulf and its cry for survival with the deep and mellow sound of the alto flute.
Koala draws on the didgeridoo and bushfires of Australia, with the deep voice of the bass flute imitating the unexpected yet charming throaty growl of the koala.
Sheet music for download
Spix's macaw was officially declared extinct in 2019 and can no longer be found in its native tropical forest habitat of Caatinga, Brazil, which is continually threatened by industrial and agricultural development as well as widespread desertification linked to climate change. Recently, however, a team of devoted conservationists bred Spix’s macaws in Germany and brought them back to their native habitat, hoping they will survive in the wildernes.
There are two northern white rhinos left in the world, Fatu and Nadjin. They grew up in captivity in the Czech Republic but now live a guarded life in their native habitat in Kenya. The Rhino population suffered from poaching, caused by a great demand for rhino horns, which are sold on the black market.
The last male, Sudan, died in 2018 and the survival of the northern white rhino is depending on scientists to succeed with experimental techniques. They have created embryos from Fatu’s eggs and fertilized with sperm from the Black Rhino. Both Najin and Fatu are too old to carry a pregnancy to term, so a surrogate rhino is needed for the process.
In the spring of 2022, the population of the vaquita porpoise was down to 10 individuals living in the Mexican Gulf of California. Many have drowned from entanglement in gillnets which are used in illegal fishing for toboaba, a large fish whose swim-bladder is used in traditional Chinese medicine and sold at extravagant prices.
There are many initiatives to save the vaquita porpoise and hope for their survival is still alive if only they can escape the gillnets.
The Australian koala faces many dangers; bushfires, inability to adabt to climate change, road kills, dog kills, and chlamydia have killed half the koala population in the last 20 years. Recently research has declared five different koala groups extinct and the koala is now listed an endangered species. Their cuteness doesn’t rescue one of Australias beloved national symbols – further action is needed to save the koala.