Ch’io t’abbandono in periglio sì grande
is an elaborate concert aria that puts the singer through his paces. It was composed on 5 September 1825, probably for Franz Hauser (1794–1870), a ‘pretty good bass’, in Felix’s words, and a fellow Bach enthusiast who provided Felix with as yet unpublished works by Bach. The text comes from the opera seria libretto Achille in Sciro
by Pietro Metastasio (the pseudonym for Pietro Antonio Domenico Trapassi), an inventive re-scrambling of Greek mythology in which Achilles’ mother hides her son on the island of Scyros. There, he dons female garb in an attempt to evade the army, but Ulysses spots the disguise and the two depart for Troy. Mendelssohn put together two separate passages from the already outdated textual source—the Mendelssohn scholar R Larry Todd sums up this work as belonging to Felix’s lifelong frustrated quest for suitable opera libretti—to form a dramatic recitative, an Andante con moto lyrical section, and a lengthy concluding Molto allegro and Più presto work-out.
from notes by Susan Youens © 2010