Watch Your Radio 9/30/09 – Lycians Turned to Frogs

Funny how frogs capture the human imagination. Maybe it’s the green skin; perhaps it’s the warts, protruding eyes, peculiar life-cycle, the whole amphibian thing…or the sounds they make and what they look like when they make them.
Today in the Mozart Café, I’m airing a symphony that puts humans and frogs in the same sonic pond. It’s by my favorite classical era eccentric: Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf. It’s his Symphony No. 5 (Transformation of Lycian Peasants into Frogs after Ovid’s Metamorphoses.) It’s interesting for me to see how the inspiration for this symphony was regarded by a Dittersdorf contemporary – Austrian painter, Johann Georg Platzer. This is his Latona Turning the Lycian Peasants into Frogs from 1730. So, here you have them – frogs à la the 18th century. My, but they’re large. Note, too, the human terror. No wonder an alternate tale of frog-turned-prince arose. A much-needed rebuttal.
(For a summary of the tale and to see a larger, creepier version of this painting, click here.)
lycians into frogs.jpg