Distraction, distraction, distraction. I've been doing more reading than normal, mostly old issues of the New Yorker, and I've been playing much more piano than usual -- this time, limited to Schumann, Brahms, and Bach. The Brahms Intermezzos seem to lend the most appropriate mood -- earthly passionate yet also celestial, melancholic yet hopeful. Bach is my old standby. I play him whenever I can. The preludes and fugues from the two volumes of the Well-Tempered Klavier are my choices now. They're so intricate, but also seem deeply soulful to me. Their intricacy doesn't allow me any brainroom to think of anything else, so that's perfect distraction music right there. Schumann's another cerebral composer, but since he's of the Romantic period like Brahms, I get drama and lyricism, too. I've been focused on one of his pieces from his "Fantasiestucke" called, "In der Nacht," or "In the Night." It's very dark, but has its lyrical moments like the nocturnes of Chopin. At the end of the piece, Schumann even directly quotes a melody fragment from one of my favorite noctunes. A nocturne is a piece of night music after all.
[Added May 24, 2006]
I found a link if you're interested in downloading and printing a free a copy of Schumann's Fantasiestucke. This PDF file has "In der Nacht" on page 11.