I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I’m worried about something or in a general state of stress, I wake up in the middle of the night and my brain simply will not go back to sleep. It is infuriating, but there’s at least one fix. This happened to me the other day, and because I had been listening to some Schumann I decided to think about Schumann’s Op. 39 Liederkreis. Not listen to it, just think about it, song by song, recalling as much of the text and the music and various interpretive turns as I possibly could.
It totally worked! Somewhere around the fourth song, “Die Stille,” I was out like a Vöglein that has been shot by a lonely wanderer in the forest under the rustling trees. (Do they ever shoot birds in Lieder? I can’t seem to recall a instance of it, but there’s probably some obscure set of “Eight Nasty Little Songs” by Hugo Wolf or somesuch that is all about shooting birds.)