The years 1715 to 1760 represent a rather unsettled period in the musical life of the south-west German court of Württemberg, based primarily at palaces in Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg. Nevertheless, the surviving archival documentation, held by the Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart and coveting the reigns of three successive dukes — the Lutheran absolutist Eberhard Ludwig (r. 1693–1733), his cousin, the Catholic convert Carl Alexander (r. 1733–37), and the latter's son, the undeniably extravagant, opera·loving Carl Eugen (r. 1744–93) — illuminates many of the central themes of Western musical history. These include the emergence of the orchestra, the rise in the importance of chamber music, and the increasing numbers of Italian musicians employed in German Hofkapellen during the eighteenth century.
Described by Peter H. Wilson as 'one of the weaker middle ranking territories within the Empire', the rulers of the duchy of Württemberg nevertheless made significant efforts to keep abreast of the latest cultural trends. The final decades of the seventeenth century therefore witnessed an increasing awareness on the part of the court of the fashionable French style, resulting in the employment of French musicians, festive performances of large·scale Singballette (modelled loosely on the ballet de cour), the adoption of new baroque woodwind instruments, and the institution of a Lullian string band — all of which helped to prepare the way for the eventual appearance of the orchestra at the court. As befitted a German prince of his rank, Eberhard Ludwig (1676–1733) had received an education that stressed the importance of French style and manners, and he continued to provide support for French culture at his court despite France's periodic acts of aggression. In 1700, embarking somewhat belatedly on his Kavaliersreise, Eberhard Ludwig made sure not to miss the sights of France's royal splendour: a contemporary account of his travels noted that he had seen incognito 'einen guten Theil Franckreichs besonders Pariß und den Königl. Hof zu Versailles' (a good deal of France, especially Paris and the royal court at Versailles). By the turn of the eighteenth century, no doubt influenced by Europe·wide cultural trends, the Württemberg court's musical taste began to turn increasingly towards Italy, a move highlighted in an ambitious series of operatic productions directed by Johann Sigismund Cousser (or Kusser, 1660–1727) between 1698 and 1702. But such extravagant expenditure came to an abrupt end with the resumption of military activity following the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–14), a conflict that was to have a considerable impact on the nature of music at the court.