‘Pieces of a Woman’ soundtrack: what’s the music scoring the Vanessa Kirby film?

11 January 2021, 15:31

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

Here’s a look at the music scoring ‘Pieces of a Woman’, the heart-wrenching new drama grappling with themes of loss and maternity.

Vanessa Kirby stars in the affecting new Netflix drama Pieces of a Woman, which offers a profound look at loss, maternity and family.

It’s the story of a young Boston mother, Martha (Kirby), whose home birth ends in unimaginable tragedy.

The film follows Martha and her husband Sean (Shia LaBeouf) in the year following that day, as they learn to live with loss as a couple.

Martha contends with fractured relationships, including her domineering mother (Ellen Burstyn) and the publicly vilified midwife (Molly Parker), who she has to face in court.

And the music, which guides us so poignantly through Martha’s journey, is by none other than Academy Award-winning Lord of the Rings composer, Howard Shore.

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Pieces of a Woman stars Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBoeuf
Pieces of a Woman stars Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBoeuf. Picture: Netflix

Who wrote the soundtrack for ‘Pieces of a Woman’?

Canadian composer Howard Shore (The Lord of the Rings, The Silence of the Lambs, Spotlight) is behind the music for Pieces of a Woman.

Shore’s name is already getting Oscar buzz, his recording a potential contender for the 2021 Best Original Score, a category he has already been nominated in twice – once for Hugo (2011), and ten years before for The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), which he won.

The Pieces of a Woman soundtrack opens with a single, ten-minute piece – the second movement of a piano concerto called Ruin & Memory, released by Shore in 2017 with star Chinese pianist Lang Lang performing.

Shore’s piano-based score guides us through the story in a contemplative, dreamlike manner, accompanying Martha’s reckoning with the tragedy that’s befallen her.

It plays a particularly crucial role in the agonising 24-minute opening birth sequence, which was shot in a single take.

Throughout the film, the music gets gradually thornier, eventually almost trembling with discomfort.

“Music is essentially an emotional language,” Shore once said, “So you want to feel something from the relationships and build music based on those feelings.”

Howard Shore wrote the music for 'Pieces of a Woman'
Howard Shore wrote the music for 'Pieces of a Woman'. Picture: Getty

How can I listen to the soundtrack for ‘Pieces of a Woman’?

The soundtrack has been out for digital release since 8 January, on Decca Records.

You can stream it on Spotify here.