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PICHEL, Wenzel, good violinist and prolific composer, born 1740 at Bechin, Tabor, Bohemia. Having received a good education, general and musical, he went to Prague to study philosophy and theology at the university, and counterpoint under Segert. Here he formed a friendship with Dittersdorf, who engaged him as first violin in the band of the Bishop of Grosswardein. Having spent two years as Musikdirector to Count Louis von Hartig in Prague, he entered the orchestra of the court theatre at Vienna, and was sent thence, on the recommendation of the Empress, to Milan, as compositore di musica to the Archduke Ferdinand. He now took as much pains in perfecting himself by intercourse with Nardini, as he had previously done in the case of Dittersdorf. He visited all the principal cities of Italy, and was elected a member of the Filarmonici both of Bologna and Mantua. The occupation of Milan by the French in 1796 drove the Archduke back to Vienna, and Pichel not only accompanied him, but remained in his service till his death on Jan. 23, 1805, in spite of an offer twice renewed of the post of Imperial Capellmeister at St. Petersburg. Pichel's industry was extraordinary, and that his compositions were popular is proved by the fact that a large part of them were published in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Offenbach, and Vienna. He sent a complete list in 1803 to Dlabacz, the Bohemian lexicographer, who inserted it in his 'Allgem. hist. Künstler-Lexicon für Böhmen' (Prague, 1815). An abstract of the extraordinary catalogue is given by Fétis and Gerber. The works—nearly 700 in number—include 88 symphonies; 13 serenatas; violin-concertos and solos; duets, trios, quartets and quintets for strings; concertos for various wind instrumenta; sonatas, etc., for PF.; 14 masses, and many church works of various kinds; 25 operas to German, Latin, French, and Italian librettos; and 'Sei Ariette,' words by Metastasio, op. 42 (Vienna, Eder). For Prince Esterhazy he composed 148 pieces for the baryton in several parts; and in addition to all wrote a Bohemian translation of Mozart's Zauberflöte.

[ C. F. P. ]