Robert Browne Hall (brass band composer)

~ Person


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:

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1990 Famous Marches John Foster Black Dyke Mills Band, Geoffrey Brand, Roy Newsome 2
Mercury Living Presence: The Collector's Edition (CDs 22–30) Various Artists 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2005 The Best of Brass Various Artists 1

Album + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1989 Carousel Breezes: Wurlitzer Band Organ, Seabreeze Park Various Artists 1

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