Air for Band
by Frank Erikson
Frank William Erickson, the son of Frank O. and Myrtle (Leck) Erickson, was born in Spokane, Washington on September 1, 1923. He began studying piano at the age of eight, trumpet at ten, and wrote his first band composition when he was in high school. He received his Mus.B. in 1950 and his Mus.M. in 1951, both from the University of Southern California. Before entering college he studied privately with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, and with Halsey Stevens and Clarence Sawhill after enrolling at USC
Erickson was a composer, conductor, arranger, and author of books on band method. He also lectured at the University of California at Los Angeles (1958) and was professor of music at San Jose State University. For a number of years he worked for a music publishing company, and later began his own company. He served with the United States Army Air Force from 1942-1946, and wrote arrangements for army bands during that time. After the war ended he worked in Los Angeles as a trumpet player and jazz arranger. He was a life member of the National Band Association, elected to the Academy of Wind and Percussion Arts in 1986, and a member of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Pi Kappa Lamda, Phi Beta Mu, and the American Bandmasters Association.
In 1953 he married Mary Theresa McGrorty. They had three sons, William, Richard, and Christian. Erickson’s wife died in 1975, and on August 15, 1981 he married Mary Ann Smith. He died October 21, 1996.
Year Published—1956…revised 1966
Bourne Company, NY.—Publisher
Type of composition: Binary form.
Style: Slow expressive melody. Theme can be found mostly in the clarinet 1 part, and flute. Very little low brass movement.
Programming Suggestions: One of the stronger tendencies of twentieth century music has been a return to certain aspects of music of the baroque and classic periods. Compositions falling into this category are referred to as “neo classic.” Air For Band is such a piece. The form (binary) was quite common in the baroque period and the melody and harmonies were strongly influenced by the work of Bach. A masterful example of a slow, elegant work at the easy level. Featuring the trademark harmonic language of Frank Erickson, this composition is one of the top choices for that perfect contrast to a bold, spirited work on your contest or festival program.
Solo instrument demands: None, but exposed passages in clarinet and flute.
Anecdotal notes: Reasonable register for clarinets. All clarinets go over the break in the music. Oboe ranges up to c2. f sharp 1 and g1 can be found in the trumpet parts. very little rhythmical movement in the low brass. oboe doubles flute part in many sections.
Discography: Teaching Music Through Performance In Band. Vol. 1 Grade 2-3. North Texas Wind Symphony. Eugene Corporon, Conductor, $39.50 .(UIL Reference CD #UB074). Young Band Repertoire Project CD Vol. 1 (MCD2160). Frank Erickson Band Classics Virginia Wind Symphony. Dennis J. Zeisler, Conductor. (UIL Reference CD #UB031
Recording of "Air for Band"