Richard (Irven) Purvis (August 25, 1913 – December 25, 1994) was an American organist, composer, conductor and teacher. He is especially remembered for his expressive recordings of the organ classics and his own lighter compositions for the instrument.
He entered the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia in 1934. He was initially taught organ by Alexander McCurdy and conducting by Fritz Reiner. Further studies were with Josef Levine in New York, Dr. Edward Bairstow in England and Marcel Dupré in France. During World War II, while serving as a bandmaster, Purvis was captured and held as a prisoner of war for six months.
From 1947 through 1971, Purvis held the position of Organist and Master of Choristers at Grace Cathedral, where he helped to form a cathedral school for boys, ensuring the continuation of the all male choir tradition. He was also organist at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. Upon his retirement from Grace Cathedral, he continued to compose, teach and give recitals into his 70’s. He died on December 25, 1994 at the age of 81.
"A Lamentation of Jeremiah" is the second work in "Three Fanciful Concepts," published by Harold Flammer in 1967. It is dedicated to the American organist, Dr. Fred Tulan, and the work received its premiere performance in a recital at Salisbury Cathedral on July 31, 1965.
The work is ponderous, as you would expect a lamentation to be. There is a pronounced, heavy pedal throughout most of the work, and there is a strong element of a funeral march about.
There is a more lyrical middle section, and here, the writing resembles chanting in a synagogue liturgy.
The opening material returns, reaching a climax and then gradual falling away to the final "open fifth chord," which sounds bad, as there is a beating out-of-tuneness to it.
I used Salisbury because the work was premiered there, but I think they were better choices of sample sets to use.
Photos of Purvis and of Grace Cathedral are attached below.