The Rowboat

Felicitas Kukuck


Felicitas Kukuck (1914-2001)

  1. Born in Hamburg in Germany.
  2. She went to school the rather unconventional ‘Schule am Meer’ (school by the sea) on Juist Island
  3. Completed her studies in 1935 at the Odenwald School in Heppenheim.
  4. Studied piano and flute at the Berlin Musikhochschule. Then in 1937 become a private music teacher studying composition with Paul Hindemith
  5. She always had to keep here Jewish origins a secret from the Nazi regime so she could continue to live in Germany. But in 1945 her home was destroyed in the war and she was moved by refugee transport to Hamburg where she lived and worked for the rest of her days. In 1994 she was awarded the Johannes Brahms Medal in recognition of outstanding achievements in the field of music.


Felicitas Kukuck was a successful CONTEMPORARY music educator and composer of opera and many other works. In 1969 she founded the chamber choir Kammerchor Blankenese, which premiered many of her compositions:

The Rowboat is a simple piece with a plaintive melody – almost like a dreamy FOLK-SONG Although there is no key signature it feels like the key of E minor but with the unexpected C sharps towards the end.


  • Here is a painting by the famous French artist Claude Monet called ‘The Boat at Giverny’. Try to capture this dreamy mood in your performance:
  • The melody and accompanying chords exchange hands several times so the balance is really important here. Make sure the melody line is always the most prominent. You could also add a little pedal to give it extra depth:
  • The is no articulation marked but there is a natural legato implied in the music so it could be phrased like this:
  • The pacing of the rhythm can be a little fluid here to give the music more meaning. For example, you could ease up a little at the end of each phase like this:
  • In the last few bars make sure the ritardando is gradual right through to the end:

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