Set is made aware from a conversation with a blind piano tuner of a song that will be written in the future. Only fragments of this work come to the piano tuner while he is dreaming and disappear when he wakes up. This day and night mystery reflects the day and night theme of Joyce’s Ulysses and his later work Finnegans Wake.
The piano tuner imparts precious little detail about the song but enough to identify it as Caruso, composed by the Italian singer-songwriter, Lucio Dalla in 1986, a half a century after the period in which Set at Random is set.
A section of the lyrics reads:
Guardò negli occhi la ragazza quegli occhi verdi come il mare
He looked into the eyes of the girl, those eyes as green as the sea
Poi all’improvviso uscì una lacrima e lui credette di affogare
But then, a tear fell, and he believed he was drowning
The song and other works by Dalla can be downloaded from iTunes using this link: