It is not an easy task to reconstruct the library and music collection of a composer, whose homes – from Hungary through some European cities and South America to the United States – cannot be counted on the fingers of both hands. This paper investigates the story of Ernő Dohnányi's music collection and music library: summarizes the stages of Dohnányi's life, where he stayed for a longer period of time, therefore makes it possible to round up a considerable library and also discusses the lists, which give account of the items of the composer's books and scores. These lists preserved about the content of Dohnányi's previous Hungarian books and music collections of the Széher út villa, the music collection on Városmajor utca (the house of Dohnányi's sister), and about the library and music collection of the Dohnányis' Tallahassee home. The author of this paper could use the items of Dohnányi's books and scores, which the composer possessed in the final decade of his lifetime, too. At present, these documents, Dohnányi's American Estate is in the care of the Archives for 20th–21st Century Hungarian Music of the Institute for Musicology, Research Centre for Humanities of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest. Beside the lists, the correspondence between Dohnányi and his sister, Mici, also contains information about the story of Dohnányi's libraries and music collections. This overview follows Dohnányi's collection even during the American years when he wanted to receive volumes of his former library, and understandably wanted to establish as rich a library as he had in his previous homes.
Ernst von Dohnányi's brilliant instrumentation skills were already recognized by his contemporaries. His former disciple and first monographer Bálint Vázsonyi published an anecdote, according to which Béla Bartók considered the orchestral version of Ruralia hungarica (op. 32) as the first truly “orchestrated” Hungarian symphonic work. Nevertheless, neither Dohnányi's own orchestration practices nor the transcriptions he prepared for symphony orchestra from the works of other composers have been studied. This paper examines two of these orchestrations, made in 1928 on the occasion of the Schubert Centenary – Dohnányi's orchestral transcriptions of the Fantasy in F Minor, originally written for piano four hands, and the piano cycle Moments musicaux – both being virtually unknown to the public. The analysis also provides an insight into Dohnányi's interpretation of Schubert, including his approach to the Austrian composer.