Organist Rick Erickson earned M.Mus. and M.Th.S degrees in Chicago, with additional postgraduate studies in England at Cambridge University. He has held important professional church and academic posts in the USA and UK. His spare-time interests include the architecture and design of the Arts & Crafts Movement and the Jugendstil period, and he is the leading authority on 19th and early 20th century Dutch Delftware, with published books and articles on the same.
The extensive catalogue of his compositions and arrangements is an outgrowth of the practical needs of liturgical musicians, be it parish church, collegiate chapel, cathedral, or services played with the Royal Household Regimental band. Many large hymn settings for festive occasions, some containing fragments of harmonies by T.T.Noble still under copyright, are available upon request.
Typical comments on his work from other musicians:
He enjoys a broad palette of lush and richly romantic harmonies in both his organ compositions and free harmonizations.
Whether with organ compositions or hymn or choral accompaniments he most certainly knows how to utilize the full resources of a large organ, but when writing he is always careful to make sure his scores are playable effectively on both cathedral organs and more modest instruments.
The hymn settings (for organ) lie well under the hands and feet, without being overly busy, often with sections for grand solo reed, with precisely the right amount of dissonance.
The extended festival hymn settings in the David Willcocks tradition (often with additional brass and/or strings) are exciting for choral singers and congregation without overly taxing the musicians.
An experienced master of hymnody, his settings inspire and challenge the congregation to fully own their part, and the descants are expertly written to not just float, but soar above both full-throated congregation and full organ.
The organ compositions are evocative without being obvious, and varied in the effects. They strike me as practical, Sowerby-like, improvisations, and the contrasting episodes flow imaginatively and logically. I can hear a little of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Richard Purvis; Herbert Sumsion would be proud. They are fun to play, with some real drama and sophistication in the progressions which players should find satisfying and useful.