After a mysterious absence from the pages of the Chicago Sun-Times, Andrew Patner, one of America's most authoritative and knowledgeable critics in any field, returns to the beat, with reviews of Susanna Mälkki at the Chicago Symphony and of an important revival of William Grant Still and Langston Hughes's Troubled Island.... Various concerts from the recent Donaueschingen Music Days can be heard on the SWR site here. Raphaël Cendo's new piece was sonically riveting, if perhaps a bit diffuse at first hearing; Enno Poppe's Speicher I-IV is also worth close attention.... This weekend in San Francisco, Lisa Bielawa stages another large-scale airfield composition — Crissy Broadcast, with more than eight hundred performers.... There's good new material at Laura Kuhn's John Cage blog.... Q2 Music has two broadcasts of recent works by Caroline Shaw.... Lincoln Center's Eric Gewirtz notes that the two most recent Grawemeyer Award-winning pieces will pass through New York next week: Michel van der Aa's Up-close will be heard at the White Light Festival on Monday, and Esa-Pekka Salonen will lead the first of five performances of his Violin Concerto at the New York Philharmonic on Oct. 30, with Leila Josefowicz as soloist. Note also a Salonen CONTACT! event on Nov. 4.... Tim Rutherford-Johnson features an absolutely fascinating piano piece by the young Canadian composer Cassandra Miller, and hails a new choral work by same... To Tim I also owe news of the first complete recording of The History of Photography in Sound, Michael Finnissy's five-and-a-half-hour music drama for solo piano. Ian Pace undertakes the mighty task. More anon; I've listened only as far as Seventeen Immortal Homosexual Poets.... Read Michael Markham on Vivaldi, Berio, and Kanye West.... There's a round-up of reviews of Nico Muhly's Two Boys at ionarts. I discussed the London première here; I remain convinced it's a substantial, absorbing work, despite its flaws.... Anton Batagov gives three performances of Feldman's Triadic Memories at the Park Avenue Armory this weekend.