Itaipu (1989) is something of a cantata-cum-symphony-cum-oratorio with no clear text. Its topic is the world's largest hydroelectric dam, built on the Rarana River between Paraguay and Brazil, and the piece–in Glass's trademark punctuating minimalism–is filled with distinct South American instrumentation, particularly in the percussion. The music itself is noble, conjuring the human endeavor to build the five-mile-wide dam near the town of Itaipu. The Canyon (1988) is about no canyon in particular but tonally suggests the mystery of canyons in general. Both these compositions are among Glass's better works.
Marlena Shaw has been a consistently popular soul and jazz artist wordwide for over four decades thanks to anthems like "Woman Of The Ghetto" and "California Soul ". Originally released in 1979, "Take A Bite" was her third and final album for Columbia Records but unlike its predecessors, the first part of the original LP had a specific musical concept and construct. Working with highly successful disco producers Meco Menardo and Tony Bongiovi (with hits by Gloria Gaynor, etc.) and respected musical arranger/producer Harold Wheeler, the first six tracks were created as a non-stop dance music extravaganza, "Suite Seventeen," strung together with a disco reading of Frank Sinatra's "It Was A Very Good Year" and one of Marlena's famous monologues ("I'm A Foster Child").
"A thoroughly researched and fascinating survey of Shaw's relations with French culture, containing a wealth of new information. Indispensable for every library and for any scholar henceforth investigating Shaw and the French."– John A. Bertolini, Middlebury College