15 June, 1876
Dear little dove of mine, Ludmila Ivanovna, my hearty thanks to you for your message. I have, recently, secluded myself,--I had to, nature itself willed it. In seclusion I have pondered a great deal over Khovanshchina, and found much that was not as it should be. When we meet I'll explain everything. I am almost never satisfied with myself, but now, more than ever, I am inclined to think that my role lies more in seclusion and concentration for the sake of art. The old boy has quite exhausted himself during the winter and spring. This is, of course, no reason to seclude myself from you, my own, and from good people. On the contrary, I'll present myself with all due freshness and vigor--the executant of your ever good and friendly purposes, and we shall call on the most splendid grandpa [ Petrov], as you are pleased to command. All good health to you, my own, little dove. I shall drop in on you one of these days.
Moscow. June 1, 1876
. . . To what degree I'll be able to realize my intentions--of this I'm no judge, of course, but the tendency of my opera will be closer to Ruslan than to The Stone Guest, this I can vouch for. So far it is curious that all the members of our circle are united about Igor: the ultra-innovator-realist Modeste Petrovich, the innovator in the field of lyrical-dramatic music Cesar Antonovich, the severe one in regard to external form and musical tradition Nikolai Andreyevich, and the passionate champion of novelty and power in everything, Vladimir Vasilyevich Stasov. Thus far all are pleased with Igor, although they are, in other things, widely divergent . . .
Dear généralissime, Ludmila Ivanovna has written you that she wishes to receive you and me at a repast on the 14th or 15th of July, and asks me to tell you that the 16th of July is also at your dearest command.