The intention of Music is not only to please the Ear, but express Sentiments, strike the Imagination, affect the Mind, and command the Passions. Geminiani, The Art of Playing on the Violin, 1751
Created in 1986 by the recorder player Jean-Marc Andrieu, the orchestra Les Passions is in residence in Montauban. This flexible ensemble specialises in the practice of period instruments. Its artistic approach reconciles two principles: a respect for the musical technique of the period (authentic performance) and a dynamic interpretation of the musical composition. Its vocation is to convince the public that ancient music is as relevant to the present as are the writings of Molière, the paintings of La Tour or the architecture of Mansart. Its repertoire extends from the beginning of the 17th century (Monteverdi's Vêpres à la Vierge) to the end of the 18th century (Mozart's Requiem) encompassing a large number of the masters of the Baroque era (Bach, Handel, Telemann, Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Purcell, Charpentier…). The orchestra is also dedicated to rediscovering the legacy of French music by producing the opera Stratonice by Méhul, Daphnis et Alcimadure by Mondonville and works by Toulouse composers Dupuy, Levens and Jean Gilles. The orchestra also contributes to the restitution of the musical library of the Dukes of Aiguillon.
In 2000, two concerts performed in Toulouse at the Halle aux Grains of The Passion According to Saint Mathew featuring Monique Zanetti and Gilles Ragon were recorded. The orchestra regularly collaborates with the vocal ensembles Sagittarius (Michel Laplénie) and The Elements (Joël Suhubiette).
At the end of 2003, Jean-Marc Andrieu renamed the orchestra Les Passions in reference to a musical form and to the philosophical and literary subject very much discussed in the 17th and 18th centuries that influenced lyrical composers during the Baroque and Classical periods.
In 2004 the orchestra produced a musical season in Toulouse during which it developed various original aspects of Baroque music and invited such acclaimed soloists as P. Hantaï, S. Kuijken, E. Gatti, G. Laurens, I. Poulenard, R. Lislevand to participate.
In 2005, Les Passions launched a recording project with the label Ligia Digital. The first two recordings cover an Italian repertory, Con voce Festiva, dedicated to the Alessandro Scarlatti featuring soprano Isabelle Poulenard (4 **** from Monde de la Musique, R9 from Classica Répetoire) and Vêpres Vénitiennes with Isabelle Poulenard and Guillemette Laurens, where one encounters Porpora and Vivaldi (Clé 2007 from Resmusica, R8 from Classica Répetoire, Orphée d'Or from L'Académie du disque lyrique 2007).
After receiving excellent reviews of its concert tour of the Requiem by Gilles (Cathedral Saint-Étienne in Toulouse, Rencontres des musiques anciennes of the Midi-Pyrenees Region at Odyssud-Blagnac, the music festivals of Lessay, La Chaise-Dieu, Sylvanès) supported by the Spedidam, Les Passions will continue amongst other projects its rediscovery of the works of Jean Gilles.