Sound Impression: September by Sarah Neutkens

Artwork by Sarah Neutkens and Harjo Neutkens

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, there is something particularly beguiling about the month of September coupled with a benign melancholia. The heat & glare of summer finally gives way to the slanted light and first cool breezes of autumn along with the promise of vibrant color that peaks in glory but inevitably ends in the brittle greys & browns of winter. It was a September in 1819 when Keats wrote his ode “To Autumn”, one of the most prominent examples of how its unique temporal and meteorological qualities naturally invite artistic expression. And, so it is for the multi-talented Sarah Neutkens, a Dutch visual artist, writer, and model who is also a pianist & composer and has written an ode of her own that serves as her own personal reflection on the arrival of the season in the form of a suite of music for saxophone.

Simply called September, her new delightful EP presents a composition in four movements performed by members of the Nederlands Saxofoon Octet, namely David Cristobal Litago (soprano), Dineke Nauta (alto), Tom Sanderman (tenor), and Marijke Schroër (baritone). Having listened to such an abundance of modern classical music performed on piano and strings, I found the choice of instruments here quite refreshing. As one would expect, there is a melancholic air to many passages, but others are surprisingly buoyant as the sprightly interplay of brass, wood, and wind manages to evoke an autumnal mood in all its nuance and complexity.

Links: Sarah Neutkens | Herbert Magazine interview (recommended)

September was mixed & mastered by Jean van Vugt and features artwork by Sarah Neutkens and Harjo Neutkens. The EP is available via Neutra Records on most major digital distribution and streaming platforms including Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon, and Google Play. Physical copies may be ordered directly from the artist.

Photo by Anna Perger