Alphons Diepenbrock was the first Dutch composer after Sweelinck with an international allure. The early polyphonic sacred music (Palestrina, Sweelinck) formed an important source of inspiration for Diepenbrock. Diepenbrock knew how to combine this abstract linear music with the sensual harmonies of Wagner (and later Debussy). Composers such as Mahler, Strauss and Schoenberg appreciated Diepenbrock's music. At the age of 27, Diepenbrock received his doctorate in Amsterdam with a thesis written in Latin about Seneca. For a period of six years he taught Greek and Latin in Den Bosch. He returned to Amsterdam however to fully dedicate himself to music, even though he was a completely self-taught composer. He saw literature and the catholic church as his inspiration. Diepenbrock befriended many writers and artists, such as Goethe, Nietzsche, Hölderlin and Verlaine.