Robert Browne Hall
Robert Browne Hall's 1896 march, Veni, Vidi, Vici, performed by the United States Air Force Band.
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Robert Browne Hall (30 June 1858 – 8 June 1907), usually known as R. B. Hall, was a leading composer of marches and other music for brass bands. A principal American composer of marching music, he was born in Bowdoinham, Maine and seldom left his native state during his lifetime, dying in Portland. His music though has traveled around the world. He is particularly popular in the United Kingdom, so much so that many lovers of brass band music there mistakenly imagine that Hall is an English composer. His celebrated march "Death or Glory", written in 1895 and dedicated to the Tenth Regiment Band in Albany, New York, is a well-known staple of brass band concerts and competitions all over the UK.
Hall was famous during his lifetime as a particularly fine player on the cornet and served for a time as conductor of the Bangor Band. As soloist, conductor, composer and teacher, Hall is still remembered in Maine. The last Saturday in June every year is officially Robert Browne Hall Day in the State of Maine.
Having suffered a stroke in 1902 from which he never recovered, he died in poverty in Portland as a result of nephritis five years later and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Richmond, Maine. His widow sold the manuscripts of many compositions. Unscrupulous publishers assembled and realized from fragments works they passed off as genuine Hall compositions. He left over a hundred marches and other compositions, including such classics as:
- Officer of the Day March
- Independentia March
- New Colonial March
- Tenth Regiment March (Death or Glory)
- Gardes du Corps March
- Albanian March
- American Cadet March
- Charge of the Battalion
- Colonel Fitch March
- Colonel Philbrook March
- The Commander March
- Commonwealth March
- Dunlap Commandery March
- Fort Popham March
- Greeting to Bangor March
- Hamlin Rifles March
- Marche Funebre
- Norembega March
- S.I.B.A. March
- Second Regiment P.M. March
- Veni, Vidi, Vici March
- W.M.B. March
In popular culture
The trio from Hall's "Officer of the Day March" provides the melody for the Alma Mater of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.
- "Robert Browne Hall Remembered". Nashua Telegraph. November 21, 1977. p. 32.
- State of Maine death record
- "Auburn hosts celebration commemorating R. B. Hall". Sun Journal. June 24, 1993. p. 32.
- R.B. Hall entry on Mt. Ararat High School, Topsham ME website
- Robert Browne Hall at AllMusic
- R.B. Hall and the Community Bands of Maine, Gordon W. Bowie, Dissertation, University of Maine, 1993.
- Free scores by Robert Browne Hall at the International Music Score Library Project
- R. B. Hall Day - official annual Maine commemoration
- R. B. Hall on the National Jukebox