The Nutcracker Studies – Advanced Etudes for Flute (v.1) arranged by Sandy Kipp Iles
Spiral bound; 56 pages
Act One: Overture; March; Petit Galop: Galop of the Children; Scene 6: Clara and the Nutcracker; Waltz of the Snowflakes
Act Two: Spanish Dance – Chocolate; Arabian Dance – Coffee; Chinese Dance – Tea; Russian Dance – Trepak; Dance of the Mirlitons- Reed Flutes; Mother Gigogne – Mother Ginger; Waltz of the Flowers; Pas de Deux – Variation 1 Tarantella; Coda; Waltz Finale; Apotheosis
My Advanced Etudes for Flute series is inspired by the rich and colorful repertoire for the symphony orchestra. Repertoire for orchestra is varied and vast, and unless you are a member of an orchestra, you may not have the opportunity to perform much of the significant repertoire. My goal with arranging these studies is for flutists to enjoy learning orchestral masterpieces, while having fun developing their fundamental musical skills. — Sandy Kipp Iles
The Nutcracker Studies: Advanced Etudes for Flute, Volume I was written and arranged by flutist and educator Sandy Kipp Iles. Sandy’s orchestral performance career, as well as her teaching career, has certainly shaped the foundation for this etude book. Sandy has brilliantly gathered the musical experiences of playing in the pit orchestra of this ballet and has created an opportunity for flutists to study not only the challenging flute moments of the ballet, but to also learn and perform the famous non-flute melodies we know and love so well.
The Nutcrack Studies is broken up into two acts. Act I consists of the Overture, March, Galop of the Children, Clara and the Nutcracker, and concludes with Walz of the Snowflakes. The second act includes the various dances, Mother Ginger, Waltz of the Flowers, and a few other key musical moments from the ballet. Prior to each study, Sandy “sets the stage” in explaining to the flutist what is happening during each number in the ballet. She also shares her insights regarding musical and technical aspects, such as common pitfalls, alternate fingerings, breathing suggestions, rhythm and articulation exercises, and much more. In the introduction to the etude book, Sandy mentions her differences in articulation, dynamics, and tempi from that of the ballet. While this book is a great resource for becoming familiar with the Nutcracker Ballet, it is not an excerpt book and should be played with the understanding that there may be musical differences from Tchaikovsky’s version.
Each etude is beautifully crafted to help flutists strengthen different fundamental aspects of their playing whether that be rhythm, articulation, dynamic contrast, phrasing, etc. This book is a great tool for both teachers and students, as Sandy is extremely detailed with her markings. There is never a moment where you may be guessing what the arranger has asked for. Each etude is given a suggested tempo range with the intention that flutists will slowly work their way toward mastering these studies.
I believe these etudes are accurately labeled for “advanced” flutists, for each study has some combination of complex rhythms or subdivisions and a majority of the etude book covers the entire range of the instrument. While not every etude has an extensive range or contains complex rhythms, a majority of the book would become quite challenging for flutists not comfortable in the extreme registers of the flute. The Nutcracker Studies: Advanced Etudes for Flute, Volume I Review, November 2021 by Sammy Holloman, The Flute View Magazine