I'm a purist, I like things done the way they're supposed to be done. Modern or alternative interpretations just don't do it for me. I prefer b/w movies to be b/w, no colourised versions for me. Foriegn films should be screened in their own language and subtitled, no dubbed-over versions for me. So why, when it comes to Christmas Duets do I find myself not only willing to accept a modern / alternative interpretaion, but furthermore, find myself rating it so highly?
It may lay in the sensitive way the duet recordings have been handled. There doesn't appear to be any competition between the contemporary performers and Elvis' original recordings. Rather there appears to be an unspoken understanding among the contempories that the original recordings are faultless performances, that lend themselves to being subtly embellished, and this they do with style and panache and sensitivity.
The developments in musical technology which have allowed recordings such as these to be developed in this way, offer fresh interpretations of classic performances.
I grew up listening to Elvis' original Christmas Album, and replaced my old, worn-out vinyl with cassette and ultimately with CD. And I love those original recordings. But I wouldn't be without this collection of gems for a single minute.
On a slightly different point, I am interested to know how the contemporary artists were selected for this album (and wise selections they were), and whether or not the idea for this album was conceived as it appears today or whether it was pieced together from a selection of existing recordings.