Robert Browne Hall

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Robert Browne Hall (30 June 1858 Bowdoinham, Maine[1] – 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.[2] 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.[3]

Having suffered a stroke in 1902 from which he never recovered, he died in poverty in Portland[4] as a result of nephritis five years later and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Richmond, Maine.[5] His widow sold the manuscripts of many compositions. Unscrupulous publishers assembled and realized from fragments works they passed off as genuine Hall compositions.

List of compositions[edit]

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[edit]

The trio from Hall's New Colonial March provides the music for Stanford University's official fight song, Come Join the Band.

The trio from Hall's "Officer of the Day March" provides the melody for the Alma Mater of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.

His March "Death or Glory", 1895 is the music in the opening scene of the 1996 comedy-drama film about a Yorkshire coal-miner's band, "Brassed Off".


  1. ^ Ballygowan Flute Band Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  2. ^ "Robert Browne Hall Remembered". Nashua Telegraph. November 21, 1977. p. 32.
  3. ^
  4. ^ State of Maine death record
  5. ^ "Auburn hosts celebration commemorating R. B. Hall". Sun Journal. June 24, 1993. p. 32.

External links[edit]