Luis Joaquin Katigbak -- the king of nothing-to-do, fiction compadre, great friend, and music critic extraordinaire -- messaged me once to ask that old record store question: What music would I bring to a deserted island? I thought hard about it in the seconds he gave me, and came up with one surprisingly strong conviction. That I love film soundtracks, and that they are for me the contemporary equivalents of the evocative symphony music the classical masters used to compose. There are many film score composers that I love, although John Williams -- responsible for many of the most memorable scores there are (E.T., Star Wars, Jaws, Indiana Jones, among others) -- is not one of them (too Hollywood pedestrian for me), although his suite for Forrest Gump is the one rare affecting score I like. My personal favorites include Thomas Newman, Michael Nyman, Vangelis, Henry Mancini, Bernard Herrmann, John Barry, James Horner, Howard Shore, Maurice Jarre, Rachel Portman, James Newton Howard, Ennio Morricone, and Gustavo Santaollala. I guess, this is mostly because their scores emphasize dramatic points of stories, and I am drawn to that as a hopeful storyteller. Take this music clip titled "Life and Death" from the TV series Lost, for example, which is brilliantly scored by my current favorite Michael Giacchino.
I love the way Giacchino (who is also responsible for the whimsical score for Ratatouille) takes his cue from his title, bookending this piece with a sense of hopefulness and then a sense of the sinister. It reminds me easily of how life should be viewed: with utmost optimism fueled by a sense of mortality.