In the early 1990s, Dick Heckstall-Smith started experimenting with the music that would become 'Celtic Steppes'. Pete Brown, co-producer of the project called the process of getting things together a 'long haul', but with Paul Jolly, "A musician with his own record label" on board, and the arts council also involved, the finished piece was finally released on "33" records in 1995.
In his liner notes to the CD, Dick talked of Celtic Steppes having three themes, "one in the first and third movements, and two in the second movement." The music evokes the history of thousands years, from the time of "the early, vigorous explosion of Celtic culture and Celtic languages" to the "prolonged and ferocious Anglo-Saxon "ethnic cleansing" of Celts out of Southern Britain. The musical journey through time concludes in the third movement, with the theme from the first movement of three thousand years ago "revitalised and transformed". Here, we are being told that "it is now, 2 millennia further on, and before us is the present and the future."
WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT "CELTIC STEPPES"
"Joyous, celebratory, yet intelligent and considered, this is a highlight of an already distinguished career," - Chris Parker - BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE
"...this remarkable work for 20-piece band displays his typical combination of originality and directness." - Dave Gelly
"...this group manages to invest Heckstall-Smith's work with both a reverence for the roots of this music and the pride of those who try and keep Celtic culture viable today." - Hi-Fi World
"...none have handled such large forces with anything like Dick Heckstall-Smith's delicacy and sureness of touch." - Dave Gelly