A mass of evidence from contemporary sources supports the notion that Beethoven's time in Vienna coincided with a particularly troubled period in the history of the orchestra not only in that city but throughout Europe. The ramifications of the French Revolution and the periodic bouts of military activity that disturbed Europe for some twenty-five years led to social disruption, economic stringencies and, ultimately, to financial crisis in Austria. All this made Viennese orchestras less fitted to cope with a number of far-reaching musical developments which even at the best of times would have seriously taxed the adaptability and dedication of orchestral musicians. Beethoven himself seems to have been one of the first musicians in Vienna to attempt to direct orchestral concerts without an instrument. The sort of flexible performance described in Salieri's Axur in 1790 could only have been achieved under very different conditions from those that obtained for most of Beethoven's time in Vienna.