Subsequent events have proven that the composers of the late nineteenth century were the culminating figures of romantic music because their fulfillment of romantic ideals was so complete that a change in ideal and style would inevitably follow them.
To find the direction of this change was the task of the next generation whose leaders were Debussy, Stravinsky, and Schoenberg --all of whom were born between 1862 and 1882. These men were Janus-faced. Each had deep roots in his respective national heritage and each grew up in the heyday of Wagner and colorful nationalism, a heritage evident in their early works. As they matured in the new century they developed their own highly original and influential styles, partly as a continuation of romanticism, and partly as a reaction against it. Their contributions will be described in the chapters immediately following.
The best study of nineteenth-century music is Alfred Einstein's Music In The Romantic Era ( New York, 1947). Three books showing the continuity of nineteenth- and twentieth-century music are A Hundred Years of Music by Gerald Abraham ( New York, 1938), A Century of Music by John Culshaw ( London, 1952), and Romanticism and the 20th Century by Wilfred Mellers ( London, 1957).