A musical story for children’s orchestra and choir, dancers and a narrator, in nine parts
From the music to the background: How the story came about.
Oliver’s Adventures came into being in March of 2009, initiated by Gerlind Hentschel and Angela Groh, both dedicated teachers involved in the primary school music classes from the Boppard-Buchholz and the Freie Schule Seligenstadt. The requirements of the piece: It should be composed of several short movements, these being easier for the children to learn. There should also be enough possibility for free improvisation, thus giving the children enough scope for individual creative options. It should also be not too difficult for the aspiring musicians. Only a basic key signature should be employed.
At the time Markus Stockhausen was awaiting the birth of his daughter Inaya and was naturally preoccupied with the realm of children. Initially, short melodies were born which the children simply listened to. Without knowing the title or story behind these melodies, they were asked to verbalise their impressions. These were often colourful and intensive impressions. These surprising and multifaceted comments gave Markus Stockhausen the inspiration for the next stage of the composition. Some of the children’s ideas were incorporated into the composition. Titles for the individual movements as well as humorous texts for the songs were conceived. The result? The piece tells the story of the young man Oliver who meets a beautiful princess on his journey and must overcome a threatening monster.
You’ve heard this a thousand times before? Boring stuff? Well, just wait and see what happens!
The first five performances of OLIVER’S ADVENTURE took place in Cologne in 2010 and were initiated by the Rheinische Musikschule and its director Michael Kobold. The performers were approximately 180 pupils from different orchestra and instrumental classes as well as the ballet high school of the Rheinische Musikschule, the children’s choir of the Porz/Carl-Stamitz Music School and the Pfälzer Ton choir of the Gemeinschaftsgrundschule Pfälzer-Straße.
Texts by Markus Stockhausen, spoken by the narrator before each part
1. On the way to the Castle
Oliver is excited to be setting off on a new adventure.
2. Princess Inaya’s Dance
Oliver and his faithful horse are resting within the castle walls after their long and tiring journey. Suddenly he hears distant music. Quietly, he enters the Great Hall and there he sees a beautiful princess dancing. It is Princess Inaya, dancing just for him!
3. Ridiculous Nonsense
Oliver is totally smitten by the sight of the princess. He has fallen in love with her and his head is spinning so much that – just as sometimes in class (yes, Oliver did occasionally go to school when he wasn’t off on one of his adventures!) – a stream of nonsense rhymes comes into his head.
4. Dreaming of the Moon
Night has fallen and there is a full moon. Its brightness keeps Oliver awake and he feels somehow strange. He is filled with a sense of longing for… something or someone, he’s not sure; just a feeling of emptiness. And then he has a dream…
5. Stillness: a quiet brook and glistening lake
The following morning Oliver wakes refreshed after his disturbed night. He goes outside, down to a softly bubbling brook and follows its course to the point where it flows into a lake glistening in the morning sun.
6. A Test of Courage
Oliver faces a challenge to his bravery. He has to be alert and resourceful to the utmost. At first he hesitates; then he gathers all his strength and courage.
7. The Monster
Has Oliver passed the challenge? Yes of course he has, but that was only the start… now there is a monster waiting for him!
Jeez, that was a close shave! We’re all breathless, just like Oliver. Deep breaths now, let’s all calm down. Breathe in – breathe out – breathe in – breathe out…
9. I’m Free!
Now it’s time for Oliver’s adventure to come to an end. What a lot he has done, and what a lot he has learned.
Composition and conductor
Denise Weltken and Ursula Kerkmann
Staging, props and costumes
Clarinet in Bb
Clarinet low ad lib. 1
Alto saxophone in Eb
Trumpet in Bb
French Horn in F ad lib.1
Double Bass ad lib. 1
Percussion 1: Tambourine, Snare, Toms, Cymbal, Triangel
Percussion 2: Drumset, Tambourine
(1 =extra parts available)
Performances in Cologne, 2010
April 25th, with DVD recording
June 12th, concert and CD recording at the WDR, Cologne
Further performances have taken place in Germany and in Australia.
CD and DVD
The CD CD/DVD has been published by Aktivraum.
Available only at: music
You can order the sheet music at:
Aktivraum Musikverlag, Köln 2009
Tel.: +49 221 9348118