An epic and powerful history of America woven from the personal story of heavily decorated retired US Major Robert 'Snuffy' Gray who fought with the controversial US 7th Cavalry Regiment. Exploring the profound human consequences of wars fought at the American frontier, Emmy award-winning filmmaker, Tom Roberts journeys with Snuffy Gray across the United States as he is reunited with veterans from Korea and Vietnam. America's first war at the frontier against Native American tribes such as the Lakota in the 19th Century echo throughout the film, as Snuffy's personal story cuts across that of the Lakota, and the story his 7th Cavalry Regiment takes from the Korean War all the way back to Custers Battle at Little Bighorn and the Regiment's massacre of Lakota civilians at Wounded Knee. At the heart of the film is Snuffy Gray's own psychological journey as, for the first time, he faces up to demons that have haunted him for forty years, and seeks atonement with veterans of America's secret war in Vietnam.
Agricola was praised by his contemporaries for the bizarre turn of his inspiration, and his music likened to quicksilver. By the standards of the period this is a highly unusual turn of phrase, but remains spot-on. The Ferrara Ensemble anthology, the first ever devoted to the composer, focused on the secular music, both instrumental and vocal, precisely the area covered by Michael Posch and Ensemble Unicorn in this most satisfying disc. Where there's duplication (surprisingly little, in fact) the performances compare with those of the Ferrara Ensemble, although the style of singing is very different. The voices are more up front and less inflected, perhaps the better to match the high instruments with which they're sometimes doubled. But the tensile quality of Agricola's lines comes through none the less, as does the miraculous inventiveness and charm of his music. Further, much of what's new to the catalogue really is indispensible, for example Agricola's most famous song, Allez, regretz. Unicorn keeps its improvisations and excursions to a minimum, and the music is the better for it. It really is a must-have.