The "Lost" legacy isn't an easy thing to pinpoint. For six years, the ABC series has defied genres: Sci-fi? Mystery? Thriller? Romantic epic?
But no matter what aspect of "Lost" draws viewers, there's one part of the show that transcends all of it, distinguishing it from its TV brethren: its beautiful, sweeping score, recorded every week with a live orchestra. If you have ever wept, laughed or felt terrified while watching "Lost," chances are Oscar-Emmy-Grammy-winning composer Michael Giacchino had something to do with it.
"Sometimes you can be very manipulative with music, but in the case of 'Lost' generally, I'm just giving you how I feel about it," said Giacchino, who won his first Oscar and his second Grammy this year for his "Up" score. "It's because I like the show so much. So for me, it's about transferring my reaction to the show. If you are sitting there crying, that means I was sad, too."
Thursday night, in a farewell to "Lost" as it nears the end of its run on May 23, Giacchino will conduct a 47-member orchestra at UCLA's Royce Hall through the series' score, including the iconic "Life and Death," last used when Jin and Sun drowned in the May 4 episode, and "Oceanic 6," which he wrote when six of the castaways left the island at the end of the fourth season.
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What "Lost Live" will present, essentially, is "The Giacchino," a term of endearment "Lost" executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse coined in the first season and use as shorthand in their scripts to signal feelings they want to convey to the actors and the director.
"For Damon and I, music is such a huge part of 'Lost,' " said Cuse. "We literally write Michael's name into the script in various places where we want to convey a sense of emotion. We wanted the final event to celebrate the incredible collaboration and the reason 'Lost' is so successful, and we feel that Michael is such a huge part of that."
The composer himself has never seen "The Giacchino" note on a "Lost" script because he's never read one. For six years, he has preferred to watch the episodes one scene at a time, and respond to his feelings with his songwriting.
"I've never wanted to know what's coming because I feel like they wouldn't get my real reaction musically somehow," Giacchino said. "I'm a big fan of 'The Twilight Zone' series and 'Lost' felt like a modern-day 'Twilight Zone,' but more emotional. And I love that you get vested in the characters. I became quite obsessed with the show and the mythology and trying to understand it. So it was my way of being able to watch the show and work on it at the same time."