2 January, year 1873
To Volodimer Vasilyevich
Good health and glory to him!
No one more zealously than you has kindled me in all respects: no one has more simply and, consequently, more profoundly than you peered into my inner being; no one has more clearly pointed out my pathway. You are beloved by me--you know this; and I by you--I sense this. If our mutual attempts to produce a living man in living music are to be understood by living people; if vegetating people fling fine lumps of earth at us; if the musical Pharisees crucify us--then our cause will begin to progress, the fatter the lumps of dirt, the more furious they become, yelling hoarsely for our crucifixion, the more swiftly will our cause progress. Yes, judgment is at hand! It is so joyful to dream of our standing on the place of execution, thinking and living Khovanshchina, while they judge us for Boris; with a courage amounting to recklessness we gaze into the remote musical distance that beckons us onward and judgment cannot frighten us. They will tell us: "You have trampled all laws, divine and human, under foot!" We shall answer: "Yes!" and think to ourselves: "There's more to come!" They will croak: "You will be forgotten soon and forever!" We shall answer: "Non, non et non, Madame!" We have enough audacity to portion out to all judges.
On this birthday of yours, so dear to me, you do not leave my thoughts, généralissime--this comes "of itself" and it is understandable that if this is so, then the thought comes--how can you please a man dear to you? The answer comes without the slightest hesitation, as in all the boldest hotheads: give him yourself. And so I do. Take my youthful work on Gogol Marriage, examine this attempt at musical speech, compare it with Boris, bring 1868 and 1871face to face and you will see that I give you myself, irrevocably. I have included Kochkarov's part as copied out by Dargomizhsky himself, as a precious memory of what Dargomizhsky was to us in his last days; the part was copied by him in spite of a serious illness and his work on The Stone Guest.
I can't stand darkness and I think that for a connoisseur, Marriage will illumine much in regard to my musical audacities. You know