With his New York debut in 1975 and subsequent appearances annually in this country, the Russian violinist Vladimir Spivakov has set off tremors of praise and enthusiasm.
Last night Washingtonians had a chance to judge for themselves when the 34-year-old violinist made his recital debut in this city at the Library of Congress with his longtime accompanist, Boris Bechterev.
He presented a stunning program which began with a divinely simple Mozart sonata and ended with the devilishly difficult "Witches' Dance" of Paganini. His demeanor was modest, his manner elegant and his playing glorious. With the smoothness of a superb athlete he produced a sound in the Mozart, the beauty and purity of which made the listener tremble. That sound became dark and rich for a Brahms sonata, then incisive and exotic for Bartok. In the Paganini it was both brilliant and witty.
It is the emotional, even spiritual dimension of Spivakov's playing that places him in a special class. His sensitivity to the language of music is extraordinary. In a series of repeated notes each one had meaning; a simple chordal figure became a charged message. He seems totally inside the music, at one with the composer's thought.
Pianist Bechterev was a splendid partner, matching Spivakov in color, tone and emphasis with extraordinary unity of thought. Frequently, the two even made the same facial gestures and body movements in response to the music.