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.
Perhaps his best-known and loved composition for the organ is the delightful suite "Four Dubious Conceits", comprising "Cantilena", "Les Petites Cloches", "Nocturne", and "Marche Grotesque", recorded by the composer for Sparton Records in the early 1960s.
The "Marche Grotesque", which is dedicated to Carl Mueller, features dialogues between the Swell 16' 8' & 4' reeds against the Solo French horn (played here on the Gt. Claribel Flute). The theme is played on a combination of flutes and mutations on the Choir, and the Full organ occasionally pops in. The timpani-like pedal thumps away on the "low G." Speaking of thumping, I think my performance is WAY too heavy in the pedal, although I didn't notice it until I was about to upload... :-(
I'd wanted to upload something for July 4th, and these were the only American things I had at hand, so, HAPPY JULY 4th ALL! :-)