Anton Bruckner and Dr. Richard Heller

Anton Bruckner and Dr. Richard Heller
Lt. Dr. Richard Heller (center) with his staff at the Salzburg Reserve Hospital No. 5 in 1915
Anton Bruckner's doctor was Dr. Richard Heller. It was Dr. Heller's recollections that let us know that Bruckner was working on his Finale to the Symphony No. 9 and Heller recalls Bruckner playing a section of the Finale for him on the piano. It was also to Dr. Heller that Bruckner explained his dedication of the symphony to God.

In 1896, Dr. Heller arranged for a candid photo of Bruckner. The Viennese photographer, Fritz Ehrbar was hired to accompany him on a visit to Bruckner at his Belvedere residence and to take a candid photo of the composer since Bruckner was unwilling to have a picture taken.

The intention was to take the picture inside, but suddenly Bruckner stood up and demanded that since it was such a nice day that he should go for a walk.

The camera was quickly and secretly moved outside and Ehrbar managed to take a snapshot.

In the picture (top) one can see Dr. Heller, Frau Kathi Kachelmaier (Bruckner's housekeeper), Bruckner, Bruckner's brother Ignaz and Professor Leopold Schroetter.

Later that day, Dr. Heller convinced Bruckner to lie down and take a nap. Erhbar then brought in his camera and took the picture of Bruckner in what was soon to be his deathbed. The photo was taken on July 17, 1896. (middle photo)

Years later, Dr. Heller and Schroetter's son, Mager were involved in a plagiarism scandal and when subsequent reprints of the Belvedere photo were produced, Dr. Heller was "photoshopped" out of the picture. (bottom photo)