When it comes to Christmas carols, I tend to be a traditionalist. I like them the old-fashioned way — with choirs and organs. When today’s performers sing them, I become Simon Cowell, bristling at their renditions, at their making the carol their own. I mean, why mess with perfection?
It is the rare occasion, however, when I appreciate — no, make that love — a newer version.
Take, for example, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.” I think I enjoy the carol so much because it’s intertwined with one of my favorite Christmas stories and films, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. When I hear the tune, I’m bundled up and walking down the snowy streets of Dickensian London. (For the record, my favorite film version is from 1951 and stars Alastair Sim.)
Here is a traditional performance, by the choirs of Bath and Winchester cathedrals.
And now for a more modern take, the finger-snapping, foot-tapping version by Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlin.