Jess and I took the train out to the Dandenong moutains to do a little hiking. It was a lovely two-hour loop through a thick Eucalyptus forest, with the extraordinary racket kicked up by the cockatoos in the canopy above us.
(See the full gallery for other pictures.)
That evening we went to see a fascinating event called “Video Games Unplugged.” This consisted of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra playing the music from a wide range of computer games. I was astonished by how brilliant these compositions were. To my untutored ear they certainly sounded like exceptional pieces of music. I can remember many years ago having a conversation with my dad about why there were no “modern classical” composers. Well I now think we do have modern classical composers – it’s just that they write for computer games and films these days.
There was a large screen above the stage, and most of the pieces were accompanied by trailers from the games.
Between each piece Wil Wheaton, Kris Straub, and Scott Kurtz goofed about, telling geeky jokes and talking to a couple of the composers and arrangers. I wasn’t familiar with Straub and Kurtz (who started off by assuring us that they were famous in the States, and that we’d just have to take their word for it that their appearance was a Big Deal), but it was fun to see Wheaton in action.
The concert ended with a stroke of genius. They held the final bout in a computer game championship live at the venue. The two combatants sat on the stage with their game controllers, looking for all the world like they were part of the orchestra, with their duel playing itself out on the giant screen for all to see, and with the MSO playing the game’s score as accompaniment. Great stuff.