Sea of Berries was commissioned by Gondwana Voices in 2001 as part of the song cycle ‘Turn on the Open Sea’. One of Paul’s first works, this piece together with Shackleton and Volta do Mar Largo from the same song cycle, launched Paul straight into the international choral scene.
The title of this piece describes the Sargasso Sea, located in the mid Atlantic Ocean on the tropic of Cancer. The Sargasso is often engulfed in purple color seaweed that floats to the surface creating a haunting landscape above the warm waters. Virtually little or no current affects the eerie lagoon like sea, the lack of wind causing havoc to any wayward ships. Part of the Bermuda Triangle is located there, and even today for modern vessels, the Sargasso is a treacherous sea.
During the years of Portuguese exploration, any attempt to enter the entrapping Sea of Berries was considered dangerous. The fear of giant sea serpents and boiling waters, in addition to the probability of never returning, discouraged sojourners for years. This engaging piece unravels the fate of a lost ship, drifting aimlessly to its demise. There is no hope of return and there is no chance of survival.
Sample this beautiful version recorded by Gondwana Voices, conducted by Lyn Williams.