I started Heaven is Closed in Sydney on the New Year's Eve (2000), according to my superstition or ritual, if that is a better word to always start a new piece on that night,
even if it is only a couple of bars. I like the idea that everyone goes crazy partying while I do my own thing, so to speak. This is a left-over peculiarity from my days in Moscow when I lived in a student hostel, with other students from Gnesin College-I was 14 years old. I remember how the sounds were coming out of all the rooms (each had a piano in it) different instruments’ sounds or singing, and I had to get on with my home work for Harmony or Aural or Musicology, so I learned to disregard the noise around me. And with time I cultivated this into the ritual of working on the New Year's Eve.
It was started in Sydney and finished in Hanover while I was there rehearsing
and witnessing the premiere of "Sarglos" a chamber work of mine. I like working on pieces while "on the road", especially parallel to some other activity, like working on a theatre play while revising another piece, etc. It seems to free the mind for very different kinds of ideas and this piece ended up soaking up some of the whirlwind energy of that time.
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the composer
"It is a dynamic piece, scored for a large orchestra with considerable mastery in a part-exotic, part-filmic style ... After a vigorous opening, the music falls into four-bar rhythmic patterns, jazzily syncopated, and eventually hammers out a tango rhythm: all influences that may be found in other works of the composer. They underpin sophisticated harmonic sleights of hand and a myriad of colourful orchestral textures. Just before the end comes a passage that suggests a series of knocks on a very large door that remains closed – heaven’s door, presumably – but there is not a whiff of religiosity about this piece. The orchestra clearly relished the full textures and big moments, which included the sonic equivalent of a panoramic camera pan-out at one point." (Philipp Scott, Limelight, 01 Mar 2018)