Oliver’s Adventures

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.

The story

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!

8. Saved

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
Markus Stockhausen
Choir conductors
Denise Weltken and Ursula Kerkmann
Staging, props and costumes
Marei Seuthe
Catharina Gadelha
Rolf Zavelberg


Clarinet in Bb
Clarinet low ad lib. 1
Alto saxophone in Eb
Trumpet in Bb
French Horn in F ad lib.1
Violin 1
Violin 2
Violon Cello
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
May 8th
May 13th
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
ISMN: M-700233-26-6

Aktivraum Musikverlag
Volksgartenstr. 1
50677 Köln
Tel.: +49 221 9348118
E-Mail: office(at)aktivraum.de

Choir texts by von Markus Stockhausen

I’m all kitted out
Ready as a scout
Over the mountains
Easy, not a doubt

On my sturdy horse
Leading on the course
Into the distance
I can feel the force

On my trusty steed
Riding’s what I need
Far off the castle
I can do the deed

(both second verses could be used after each other during the piece)

  • Man with one leg
    Eating an egg
    Apricot pie
    Went in his eye.
  • Now its your turn
    What can we learn
    Bottoms and poo
    Stop it, thank you!
  • I love my cat
    Sitting like that
    Under a boat
    Washing her coat.
  • Flying to Mars
    Swinging on bars
    Scoring a goal
    Stroking a foal.
  • Trumpet and flute
    Babies are cute
    Cymbals and drums
    Chocolate and plums.
  • Gardening gloves
    Pigeons and doves
    Shovel and spade
    Then lemonade.
  • Give me a bun
    I’m having fun
    Tickle my nose
    Anything goes!

The monster is ugly and fat
So that’s why we are singing G flat!

First stanza (or change the order of the stanzas)

  • I am free
    Just you see (you can see ?)
    Nothing does me harm
    Stick to my guns
    Whatever comes
    Steadfast and calm.
  • I’m fit and ready
    Up for the game
    And if I fall I’ll bounce right back again
    And deep inside I’m sure we’ll win
    If we help each other’s cause.
  • If friendships break
    We can re-make
    There’s no need for stress
    You’re part of me
    I’m part of you
    The whole world’s part of THEE.

Second stanza

  • Yes we can
    free ourselves
    this will change the world.
    Yes we can
    be ourselves
    this is the way.
  • Together we will build our future
    each of us will play his part.
    Together we will save nature
    water air and earth!
  • Yes we can
    if we wish
    start the change within.
    Light the spark
    in the dark
    let us begin.

Press reviews

2011 - Von Prinzessinnen, Ungeheuern und Abenteuern - Olivers Abenteuer

TransPositionen, 7. Juli 2011, von Christiane Teworte. Wo eben noch Schulkinder tobten und man in den voll besetzten Rängen der Kölner Philharmonie das Geschnatter hunderter Münder hörte, breitet sich gespannte Stille aus und die Aufmerksamkeit der Nachwuchs-Zuhörer ist ganz bei der Geschichte von Oliver und der schönen Prinzessin Inaya.

2011 - Junge Musiker überzeugten mit ihrem Können - Olivers Abenteuer

Rund um Boppard, 1. Juni 2011, von Bianca Schink und Anja Schuch. Erfolgreiche Tage der rheinland-pfälzischen Schulmusik.

2011 - Klangexperimente begeistern Zuhörer - Olivers Abenteuer

Boppard im Blick, 25. Mai 2011, von Martin Ebbertz. Konzert der Buchholzer Grundschule ein voller Erfolg.

2010 - Elfen tanzen in der Kirche - Olivers Abenteuer

Kölner Stadtanzeiger, 11. Mai 2010, von Marianne Kierspel KINDERSTÜCK – Markus Stockhausen leitet “Olivers Abenteuer” mit fast 200 Kindern.