Grainger is soulfully direct engaging music. You cannot toss it off as simple,playful disarming bits of snap and pop for the musical imagination. Grainger was a deadly serious musician,and scoured countless musical genres,the piano,our fortune was his most cherished and sought after timbral center. Ample degrees of pure refined,tailored piano timbre you'll discover in this music,fine bits of grace notes to help colour a downbeat,or a flourish.Fine voicings of chords,and it is the ultimate mark of genius when you cannot imagine another realization of these finely wrought piano solos,even though their source was the voice. I think Hamelin needs this music to help deepen his own musucianship.Picasso said this of art, the problem is not becoming an artist,but remaining one,and,his fan club claims he sometimes plays a bit robotically passive,all furioso technique without an engaged soul,or emotive mannered bombast like Horowitz I suppose. Yet Horowitz knew how to create excitement without sacrificing deep musical committment,as the Carmen Variations.
Hamelin has been scouring the neglected piano repertoire,for quite some time, Alkan,Sorabji,Catoire,Medtner,Busoni,late Listz,Roslavets, Villa-Lobos,and quite recently Frederic Rzewski's political/mural ,the Variations on the powerful Chilean folk tune.I wish other pianists had this vision. The Jutish melody here did have a reference to a political situation, the Jute Mill was the site of rebellion in 19th century agrarian British culture.
Whether Hamelin puts off the overtly emotional is a matter of taste and judgement. I tend to get excited about clarity first,and Grainger's music begs for clarity,for if you ever heard excessive rubatos,and durational liberties, the content of the wonderfully simple melodies, their charm and reverie would have escaped into mediocrity and sacrificed at the head-block of performative indulgence. I think Hamelin treads a fine line,between what should emote and what should remain within the refinement of pianistic timbral clarity.