Getting inside Mozart’s dramatic side this week with the San Francisco Symphony is famed Austrian pianist Rudolf Buchbinder, who will play the Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor. He calls Mozart one of the most dramatic composers, and one who loved life. The concerto is paired with the Symphony No. 2 of Brahms, and (with the men of the Symphony Choir and the Pacific Boychoir) Allegri’s “Miserere”.

There’s more information about the concerts at the San Francisco Symphony website.

Buchbinder says while Beethoven was one of the most sensitive and Romantic composers, Mozart, having written Don Giovanni, was one of the most dramatic. “Mozart, he understood [how] to live. He loved the life, he loved women, he loved to gamble, he lost all his money as you know. I mean, he could have been a rich man, but he had to borrow money all the time, always through his whole life. But he understood to live. And you can feel this in his music.” And finding the heart of a composer’s music can be helped by exploring the life of the composer. “I tell my students, it doesn’t matter if they play Mozart, Gershwin, Tchaikovsky or anything. Before you play a piece from this person, read a book about him, and then you can start to work on it. And it helps a lot to know the person as a human being and as a composer.I think also in his music you feel the mood…  In which mood he has been at the moment when he wrote certain pieces. If he was in love, if he was unhappy, whatever. You can feel this in the deepness, and sometimes the tragedy in his life.”