No other country has such “musical product.” Extraordinary instrumental composition, high professionalism of performers, and 75-year-long creative career are making up the Mykola Rizol Quartet’s strength.
The Accordion Quartet of the National Philharmonic Society is now represented by a new generation of musicians, including winners of international competitions Oleh Shyian (second accordion), Roman Molochenko (bass accordion) and Ihor Saienko (baritone accordion), led by People’s Artist of Ukraine Serhii Hrinchenko (first accordion).
The musicians’ repertoire includes folk and classic hits specially adapted for accordion quartet, such as classical music piano and symphonic compositions by Mykola Lysenko, Franz Liszt, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Mikhail Glinka, folk songs and dances of the world, and modern hits Melody and Spanish Dance by Myroslav Skoryk.
The Quartet’s performing manner exhibits palpable desire to interpret these works as close as possible to the style of the era. This creative principle has inspired the musicians to explore new timbres realized in the sounds of rare musical instruments oboe accordion and clarinet accordion, made at the band’s special request.
Its repertoire now includes works composed specially for the Accordion Quartet by Volodymyr Zubytsky from Kyiv and Stanislav Pieshkov from Crimea. There are few of them, though. Following in Rizol’s steps, Hrinchenko and Saienko have to solve the repertoire problem on their own.
The Rizol-Quartet has toured extensively, participating in competitions and festivals. Swiss newspaper Sarganserland published an ode to the Ukrainian maestros, reading in part: “Four ‘organs’ sounded, rumbled, shook and surprised the audience. Displaying supreme skill, the virtuoso performers have been able to convey a variety of music ranging from powerful juicy sounds to the quietest whisper of harmonic. The accordion quartet from Kyiv left a lasting impression with its art that calls for followers.”
It should be noted that the Europeans are now experiencing growing interest in the accordion. However, it is not meeting that universal admiration in Ukraine which it enjoyed in the 1950s. According to Hrinchenko, Kyiv music schools which teach pupils to play the accordion can be counted on the fingers of one hand, even though our capital has over 40 music schools in total! Thus, the accordion art is gradually declining.
In Hrinchenko’s opinion, musicians must try to attract the audience’s interest. He is genuinely concerned about the fate of eastern Ukraine, where accordion playing has always been an integral part of the local musical culture, and which should not be lost because of the political crisis brought about by separatist terrorists, now led by Russian militants. The Quartet’s leader believes that tough times will go away, while Ukraine will remain a single united country, allowing concerts and tours to be held in cities all over our Fatherland.