Did Mozart Hate the Flute?

I have had a running discussion with one of KUSC’s classical radio station hosts regarding Mozart and the flute. She doubts my assertion that Mozart hated the flute.  The flute was probably the first instrument that Homo sapiens played. The first flute found was in Swabia, Germany, and said to be about 43,000 years old. It was made of a juvenile bear femur hollowed out with side holes drilled in it. It is not certain if this was an instrument made by Homo sapiens or Homo neanderthal especially as we, Homo sapiens, reportedly just got to Europe from Africa 1,000 years after the bear flute had already been made. But likely, both played it for entertainment and possibly communication over long distances for several thousand years later. The flute can be vertical or horizontal. The Baroque flute a type of “Querflöte (transverse held flute) evolved from the simpler Renaissance flute. The flute today is a much different instrument than it was in the past. It was not until the early 1800s that the flute became a more playable instrument due to work by Theobald Böhm. He was a musician, composer, and renowned flutist. His father was a well-known goldsmith who helped with the redesign of the instrument. Flutes have been made of bone, wood, silver, gold, platinum, and even crystal. The innovations made the instrument more versatile and easier to play. Expert flutists cannot distinguish with what material a flute is made just by listening to them. Alas, too late for Wolfgang Mozart, whom I contend didn’t like the flute. Mozart died three years before Theobald was born.
     Mozart expressed a dislike for composing for the flute, probably for several reasons. The flute of Mozart’s time was difficult to play and was often not played correctly by the young daughters of the nobility who were instructed in playing it. Mozart was often engaged to compose for it because it was such a convenient instrument compared to the piano or the multitude of string instruments such as the violin or the harp that was a burden just to transport from one to another location. To have to listen to his masterpieces butchered by a whole bevy of young ladies was likely very painful for him. 
     How do I know Mozart had a distaste for this instrument? He said so in a letter to his father that he wrote on February 14, 1778, when he was in Mannheim looking for a job at the court orchestra of the Elector of Palatine and Bavaria, Karl Theodor, the most prestigious orchestra in Europe.
     He had not finished several flute compositions, two Concertos, and three Quartets commissioned by a surgeon and amateur flutist, Ferdinand Dejean. Mozart reminded his father in his letter that they had discussed his feelings about the flute before. Translating from German, which is my first language, and thus am very atune to the nuances in the wording which makes it obvious to me that he makes his feelings about composing for the flute quite clear. “Wie sie wissen, gleich stuff wen ich imer für ein instrument das ich nicht leiden kan schreiben soll” “As you know, I immediately stumble if I am always expected to write for an instrument which I cannot suffer (referring to the flute).” Complicating the situation, Dejean had not paid Mozart the full amount agreed upon, and furthermore, Mozart felt it necessary to taken some time off from the flute compositions to “clear his mind” he said. So he did some piano and violin pieces in between. Dejean was not the only person with whom Mozart had some money issues regarding flute compositions. The duc de Guînes had commissioned a work for flute and harp to be played by him and his daughter that Mozart had dutifully delivered, but the good duke saw fit to pay only half the Florins agreed upon and furthermore stiffed him for all his daughter’s lessons. That was another strike against the flute. I feel fairly certain that I am correct in interpreting Mozart’s dislike for the woodwind.
     Admittedly, thirteen years later, Mozart wrote a whole opera based on a “Magic Flute,” full of symbolism in the music, including the libretto and hidden criticism of Empress Maria Theresa. She was featured as the evil “Queen of the Night” and for whom he wrote one of the most difficult and possibly venomous arias in opera – “Hölle’s Rache kocht in meinem Herzen (hell’s rage cooks in my heart)” It was not his last opera that he composed, that was “The Clemency of Titus,” but The Magic Flute was the last one he produced and directed before his premature death at age 35, on December 5, 1791, likely from a Strep infection. Perhaps by then, he had learned to tolerate the flute.