Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.


fire break

for chamber orchestra

Year:  2019   ·  Duration:  13m
Instrumentation:  2 2 2 2 / 2 2 / timp / str

Year:  2019
Duration:  13m
Instrumentation  2 2 2 2 / 2 2 / timp / str

Composer:   Juliet Palmer

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: pages 1–8 of score

See details ➔


To borrow items or hire parts please email SOUNZ directly at


In the barren landscape of a gigantic reservoir in Oregon, silvery stumps of a dead cedar forest dot the red earth slopes. While I hold a contact microphone to the wood, my friend Darion draws a dusty stick back and forth like a bow across a spindly root. Through my headphones the voice of this long dead tree starts to sing: raucous moans and shudders, like an unhinged saxophone solo.

Over the following weeks, other trees speak to me: booming thuds as I “woodpecker” a fallen old- growth Douglas fir; cascading dry twigs snap and tumble; marimba notes ring as I strike the limbs of an ancient cedar in a lava field; my fingernails scrape hollow whispers from the charred trunk of a burnt lodgepole pine. Since the summer, I keep thinking about those trees — their rich and complicated lives; their deaths from flooding, old age and fire; and the howl of those spruce roots.

I am grateful to Carla Bengtson who invited me to the Andrews Forest to be a small part of the two hundred year-long program for scientists and artists, LTER or Long Term Ecological Residency. Thanks to Darion Smith for dancing the sounds in the landscape with me. Thanks to the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra for commissioning this work and to the Genesis Project for funding it.

Commissioned note

Commissioned by the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and Funded by The Genesis Project