Today I am beginning to relearn the beautiful piece by Stanley Myers titled “Cavatina”, made famous by the guitarist John Williams and the movie “The Deer Hunter”. The solo version was specially arranged by John Williams, and you can find a great video of John Williams performing this piece on YouTube.
I am working with the 1971 version by Robbins Music Corporation, London, purchased from Guitar Solo in San Francisco.
The piece is in the time signature 3/4, but to me it feels more like 6/8, with an emphasis on the first and fourth beat.
John Williams has provided left hand fingerings that are helpful and concise, but the practicing guitarist will want to add their own right and extra left hand fingering and perhaps make a few changes for their own ideas. Since I am relearning the piece I regret not having marked more fingerings. For right hand fingerings I marked the first measure, with “a” assigned to the melody and “ppimip” assigned for the accompaniment. For position I have marked IV because the first finger frets the “b”.
The beauty of the piece is in the melody, and this needs to be brought out strongly in the foreground, but I do not use rest stroke for this, I use free stroke and just increase the emphasis. I aim for a very sweet sound and try to keep the right hand very horizontal to the strings.
This short piece can be described as having 9 sections. The first section is the motif, measures 1 through 16. The second section is a response to the motif, measures, 17 through 24. The third section refers back to a portion of the motif, but moves chromatically to a five measure emotional cadenza. This cadenza might be considered a fourth section. After this cadenza the next section, which we will call five, is a chromatic searching that returns to a portion of the motif. After that we have D.C. and we go to the sign for the Coda. We repeat the first two sections, which we will now call six and seven, and go to the Coda. In the Coda measures 52 through 59, we will call section 8, refer back to the motif, and section 9, measures 60 to 63, are a very satisfying resolution to a strong cadence.
My goal in my practice is to reconnect with my fingerings, redevelop the sections and the phrasing, and be true to the composers notes and intentions. I want to memorize the piece, but now I want to “sight read” and check that my memories of the notes match what is on the page.