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Josef Triebensee was born in Wittingau on November 21, 1772 and died at Prague on April 22, 1846. He served in the private orchestra of Prince Schwarzenberg, and from 1782-1806 as first oboist of the Austrian Emperor’s Harmonie (wind band). Concurrently, he also served as principal oboist at the Nationaltheater of Vienna.

Triebensee was the second oboist at the Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna in 1791 when he played the premiere of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte—explaining the peculiar difficulty of the second oboe parts in that work. In this classical period of music history in the Hapsburg Empire, this Bohemian composer was a frequent oboe soloist in Vienna and the first oboist and Kapellmeister to Prince Lichtenstein’s wind band from 1794-1809. Following this post, he was a theatre composer in the Moravian city of Brno. Then from 1816-1836, Triebensee was the Director of the Prague Opera where he succeeded composer Carl Maria von Weber. Unlike Weber, his operas found little success.

His large compositional output includes music and arrangements for wind band, 12 comic operas, some smaller vocal pieces and orchestral and chamber works. Triebensee’s most important compositions were two sets of Harmoniemusik, the second appearing in 32 installments of ten or more movements. 

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