The Celtic was written as David Heath's second work as composer in residence with the BT Scottish Ensemble. It is dedicated to the ensemble's musical director, violinist Clio Gould, who gave the premiere in 1995.
The concerto is in three movements, each with its own story. The first movement Ceilidh captures the atmosphere of a ceilidh getting wilder and wilder as everyone gets intoxicated on the "atmosphere".
The second movement is a Lament for Collessie: during the autumn of 1994 Heath's family had to move back to London and they all really missed Collessie, Fife where they had lived for a year. Lament for Collessie is a slow movement which expresses these feelings.
In 1994 one of the great craftsmen of the century, flute-maker Albert Cooper, was 70 and Heath wanted to write a piece to celebrate his birthday. Living in Cupar, Fife, Heath decided to base the piece on an old version of a popular local song "The Wee Cooper of Fife". As Albert lives in Clapham (London) it became The Cooper of Clapham.
The Celtic has been recorded by Clio Gould & the BT Scottish Ensemble on Linn CKD073, and by Ittai Shapira & the English Chamber Orchestra on Black Box BBM1083