The life of Johann Sebastian Bach’s youngest son Johann Christian (1735 – 1782) is notably different from those of his brothers and the majority of 18th-century German masters. Like hundreds of their colleagues in various German regions, Wilhelm Friedemann ‘the Gallic Bach’, Johann Christoph Friedrich ‘the Buckeburg Bach’ and ‘the Berlin’ or ‘Hamburg Bach’ Carl Philipp Emanuel sought and found an application for their talents in Germany.
Only a few Germans made a European career for themselves and won wide acclaim. One of them was Johann Christian, called by his contemporaries ‘the Milan’ or ‘London Bach’. After his successes in Italy and later England he gained a reputation as one of the most authoritative musicians of the second half of the 18th century. Any mention in Europe of ‘the famous Bach’ referred to the junior Bach, not his father. It is noteworthy, that his elder brother Carl Philipp Emanuel achieved the same fame in Germany.