Prunes? What's with them?

May 29, 2008 at 04:36 PM · Yo.. I have to ask a question. What's with violinists and prunes? More specifically, what is with Mr. Brivati and prunes? Am I missing a meaning here?

I'm getting used to again-it's been so long since I've been on. Damn that addicting Facebook!


Replies (83)

May 29, 2008 at 04:36 PM · Ah, youth.

May 29, 2008 at 04:43 PM · i've been wondering the same thing.

May 29, 2008 at 04:43 PM · brian, you should really get this word or concept down before you take the SATs, or risk getting pruned.

May 29, 2008 at 04:44 PM · If ya'all knew Buri a bit better you would understand why he takes them.

And understand that he takes them...

May 29, 2008 at 04:44 PM · Violinists are sometimes known for being, well, a bit anal-retentive. Prunes are quite literally the cure for this physical malady.

Or it might just be all about our violin pedagogue friend, Simon Fischer. But I highly doubt that!

May 29, 2008 at 04:57 PM · Thanks for asking, I was wondering the same, since a while, but did not dare ask.

So Mr. Buri maybe you can explain for those of us, who are .... in the dark, or should we take prunes?


May 29, 2008 at 05:02 PM · Carefull Brian, too many prunes can mess up your G string,

May 29, 2008 at 05:03 PM · My understanding was that it was symbolic for doing something which is not perhaps enjoyable in itself, but is done for greater purposes.

Scales, for example, while not usually played for pure enjoyability, serve the purpose of building technique.

Just as prunes aren't eaten for flavor so much as their function.

May 29, 2008 at 05:05 PM · that sounds like a new indication:)

May 29, 2008 at 05:10 PM · The history of prunes is forgotten by all but a very few of us and it is better that way.

May 29, 2008 at 05:41 PM · When life hands you lemons-throw ´em in a quart of vodka.

May 29, 2008 at 10:55 PM · Greetings,

prunes are outside the realm of verbal explanation. Once grasped at theri most profound level you may leave the temple. In tyhe meantime Laurie`s explanation may suffice.



May 30, 2008 at 12:40 AM · you all have me craving prune danish!!!!!


May 30, 2008 at 12:44 AM · OMG prune paczki.

May 30, 2008 at 01:04 AM · Prune Shiso Maki, Prune Bi Bim Bap, and Moroccan Chicken Prune Tagine!

May 30, 2008 at 04:24 AM · A little prune in your pumpernickel...

May 30, 2008 at 04:48 AM · Oh my god, Laurie, maybe I'm just weird but I thought the Simon Fischer link was hilarious beyond belief!

May 30, 2008 at 05:01 AM · it`s a basic food, but eating it without pulling faces takes practice.

May 30, 2008 at 05:12 AM · C'mon, someone please spill the beans - how did the whole prune thing get started? Inquiring minds (of anal-retentive violinists) want to know! Pretty please...

May 30, 2008 at 05:33 AM · Greetings,

when you are young you will value things like good looking babes, homeruns, Ferraris and home brewed beer. As old age creeps up on you a good bowel movement becomes a thing of beauty.



May 30, 2008 at 05:59 AM · So Buri, you don't mean to say that Simon Fischer has nothing to do with it?

May 30, 2008 at 06:32 AM · Greetings,

I have a rare first edition of `Basics` in which there is a chapter on Bow weight, bowel speed and sound points. The latter don`t bear a great deal of discussion inthis context.



May 30, 2008 at 06:46 AM · The Norwegian term for a short, sweet piece of music, á la a nice Kreisler piece, is a "sviske". Sviske = prune.

May 30, 2008 at 12:26 PM · Tony,

Aren't the Basics: Technique of Beans rather crude in tone, whereas Prunes……they contribute so extremely well…… legatissimo de prugne. Buri is obviously the most lyric of players and determined that we truly emulate his passion.

Bow Strokes

legatissimo de prugne: the ultimate in smooth flowing motion.

(Excerpted from my violin and viola books.)

May 30, 2008 at 12:50 PM · Hey, I can't let this discussion go by without adding my two cents worth:

If you stick enough prunes into your f-holes, you're soundpost won't droop.

A prune a day keeps the doctor away. Two prunes a day keeps two doctors away [paraphrasing Cookie Monster]

P - Posting

R - Every

U - Utterance

N - Never

E - Educates

Buri's fiddling is always in tune,

But his passion is the prune.

Eating prunes (you will learn)

Cures every concern.

But then you'll die too soon.

:) Sandy

May 30, 2008 at 01:17 PM · au contraire. I think prunes are DELICIOUS and wish I could (safely) eat more than 1 or 2 at a time! They've just gotten a bad rap (rep) beause of their association with (essential) private bodily functions.

May 30, 2008 at 02:41 PM · The capital of prunes is Agen in France and prune in french is pruneau: "les pruneaux d'Agen".

There is a lot of delicious recipes with prunes, one of them is rabbit with prunes "Lapin aux pruneaux" absolutly delicious, my favorite.

May 30, 2008 at 03:31 PM · I found this Hungarian recipe that originally calls for apricots, but I bet prunes would be just as nifty:

Prune Cream

1/2 cup prunes

1/2 cup gelatin

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Cook the prunes, and press through a strainer. Dissolve the gelatin and sugar in the lemon juice over hot water. Blend with the prune pulp. Chill in fridge until jelling starts, about 45 minutes. Then fold prune mixture into whipped cream and chill until time to serve. 6 servings.

May 30, 2008 at 04:03 PM · The true story of prunes:

About the time that Brivati-Sensei first joined there was an acrimonious exchange between two members. One suggested that the other could overcome her characteristic tendency to be a scold with a healthy dose of prunes. My first recollection of Brivati-Sensei was his reaction to that comment. He has been prunalific ever since. The two original adversaries don't post here any more, at least not using the same names.

May 30, 2008 at 04:29 PM · Buri.......... and for some when old-age creeps up the opposite is true ... oh to be able to eat a bowl-full of prunes without having the bowl full umpteen times the next morning!!!!!!!!! What about people who can't take prunes, eh? What about the minorities and equal representation, eh??



May 30, 2008 at 04:55 PM · The very very first time I ever landed in the midst of a discussion thread, having just found it on Google, there was Buri embroiled in some discussion with someone over prunes and violins. That was my introduction to this website. I was amused and interested to read more....

May 30, 2008 at 04:54 PM · Corwin, Close but Buri-Waka was a member long before that incident. And but of those members are ocationally dropping by, but not as often.

May 30, 2008 at 04:55 PM · Hmmm, prunes as leavening...

May 30, 2008 at 05:04 PM · besides the flowing effect, prune has high iron content. for those who are prune to feel anemically tired after practicing only 10 hours a day, prune intake may boost hemoglobin production and productivity:)

May 30, 2008 at 06:43 PM · Back in the 1960's a ballet dancer ate a few prunes and went out later to a nightclub.

Suddenly she had the urge to visit the loo which,

unfortunately, had a long line. While impatiently waiting in line she started jumping around in

pain, but being a professional dancer her frantic antics in line attracted a lot of attention as kind of a new dance form. Then more and more people drifted over to watch her jumping around and liked the new dance idea. Then and there she became the first ever Go Go Dancer. And now you know "The Rest of the Story."

May 30, 2008 at 08:16 PM · Well, I was inspired to make orange-prune bran muffins... delicious!

May 30, 2008 at 09:36 PM · As a violinist you can get sued

For playing Bach in the nude.

But eating prunes could be worse,

With their olfactory curse.

Do naked Bach plus prunes, and you're screwed.

May 31, 2008 at 01:21 AM · Months back I used the search function on to find the oldest mention I could of 'prunes' to see how that started. It returned 23 pages of results (just repeated that search)that were not sorted by age. After reading 3 pages of prunish advice I concluded that it would forever be a mystery, stretching back into the dim mists of antiquity.

Why didn't I think of just asking????

May 31, 2008 at 01:28 AM · Sander, how about:

P - Posting

R - Random

U - Utterances

N - Never

E - Educates

But then I'm not sure that's true... ;)

I'm so proud of everyone for taking potty humor to this elevated level; it's what is all about. It makes my eyes mist over... A haiku to the prune, anyone?

May 31, 2008 at 02:32 AM · I remember early on, if not the first time viewing then soon after, trying to follow a series of exchanges between Buri and someone that centered around prunes. Couldn't follow it at all except to figure it had to be an inside joke. I'm glad to finally be enlightened. Or perhaps, having had a few prunes myself a little earlier, just bit lighter.

May 31, 2008 at 03:13 AM · Dew spanglely prune,



May 31, 2008 at 03:17 AM · Prune Haiku:

A pond lay quiet and still in the forest. A prune

was eaten. Plop.

May 31, 2008 at 03:57 AM · Hmmm...talking about the good old days...a haiku tribute to Then and Now:

The board is different--

(Chudnovsky, Filimonov...)

Buri writes of prunes.

Yeah, I'm not gonna give up my day job, but...

May 31, 2008 at 08:41 AM · A prune turns round and

yellow like a banana.

Anxiety concert.

May 31, 2008 at 11:25 AM · Re: Pun

May 31, 2008 at 12:05 PM · P - Perhaps

R - Real

U - Ubermenschen

N - Notate

E - Ecchy

S - Sayings

Give me a bucket of prunes,

And a heavenly Strad,

And a beautiful woman beside me....

And you can keep your bucket of prunes,

And your heavenly Strad.

A prune in my hand

Ugliness outside

But, ah, the inner sunshine

Of my intestinal music


[OK, now that's art, with a capital "F"]

:) Sandy

May 31, 2008 at 04:13 PM · Brian, thanks for having fortitude in starting this thread. It's been entertaining as well as enlightening :)

May 31, 2008 at 09:30 PM · .... and artistic!

June 1, 2008 at 12:26 AM · Don't you love that there are almost 50 responses on this site about PRUNES!??? Hee Hee. too funny.

June 1, 2008 at 01:14 AM · With chudman and filimstar it was always the same post; have I got a bow for you, or person x is an insult to the universe. THe one I miss is Linda Blair, or whatever her name was.

June 1, 2008 at 01:45 AM · I remember her. She used to spit.

June 1, 2008 at 02:10 AM · As Frank Zappa expressed so well in "Duke of Prunes" (from the album Absolutely Free):

And so my love

I offer you

A love that is strong

A prune that is true!

June 1, 2008 at 02:47 AM · Jim, you mean the famous Evil Linda? I think she's still lurking...

Say what you will about "Chudman" et al, the old days certainly had a more colorful cast of characters. Remember? Emil's manifestos (and culinary digressions), Gennady's schmoozing and bow-hawking, Ilya's wisecracks, Pieter's oddly comedic repartee with Ilya, Buri's bewildered prunish asides, Mr. Steiner's stories about Milstein, Sander's borscht-belt jokes and it's just a handful of us sad schleps wasting time and trying to keep things interesting when we should all be practicing.

June 1, 2008 at 04:08 AM · Oh, I thought you meant someone else. I have this memory of a very fiery member but I'll say no more. She might come back. I do miss Emil and Gennady and various other old salts, even though Emil tried to sock me a few times too many. Too much ducking and weaving and counter-parrying.

June 1, 2008 at 05:04 AM · No, Linda is a sweetiepie. Just evil in a cool way!

June 1, 2008 at 06:30 AM · I second Mara 100%. I especially miss Emil and Sung Duk among others. Also haven't seen postings from Igor Yuzefovich and Raphael Klayman for some time. With those guys around, together with all the great ones still sticking around as Mara mentioned, discussions were definitely held at a different level. What a pitty.

June 1, 2008 at 08:09 AM · We still have you Yixi!

June 1, 2008 at 12:26 PM · As my last official concert of the season is this afternoon, I took a break to see what was on the site, and found this wonderful topic :) I am enjoying all the fun!! One thought, Mozart would have entered in on this one. So we are not without greatness. Reading his letters for my masters was a real insight to this topic of prunes.

June 1, 2008 at 01:09 PM · Bach would wonder at the fuss, and get back to scratching down notes in ink with his quill pen, Beethoven would probably frown, and head out the door to go to the coffeehouse, Schubert would blush and look down at the piano keys, but yes, Mozart would have loved it.

June 1, 2008 at 02:04 PM · OK, to add another borscht-belt thought, how indeed would the great composers have responded to the fabled prune? I have a modest contribution to this reverie, after which I, too, need to return to practicing:

- Mozart: Eine Kleine Nachtprune

- Brahms: Schittenlieder

- Debussy: La Merde

- Tchaikovsky: Dance of the Sugarprune Fairies

- Sarasate: Danzas Asspanolas

And, bearing no relationship to the topic whatsoever:

- Mahler: Kindletotenlieder (Songs On the Death of Firewood)

Have a great Sunday.

:) Sandy

June 1, 2008 at 03:15 PM · How could I have forgotten this one:

- Gershwin: Crapsody in Blue

(plus a host of other famous "Rhapsody" pieces)

June 1, 2008 at 08:23 PM · Don't you worry about a colorful cast of characters. That Hilary Hahn woman will be in here soon. She's starting to relax a little, seems like.

June 2, 2008 at 10:03 PM · Ooh, prune kolacky!

Actually, this has me wondering: Am I the only one here who actually LIKES prunes?

June 2, 2008 at 10:46 PM · Oh, I used to like them...then I joined Kolacky sound marvelous though...

There's also this great way of preparing pork chops that my mom does (might be a Czech recipe, actually, come to think of it) with prunes and dried apricots...the mix of savory and sweet all together--YUM!

Oh look,'s become a culinary site again. Sorry! :)

June 3, 2008 at 03:09 AM · What's not to like about prunes?

June 3, 2008 at 03:19 AM · strange that by now prune merchants have not approached as sponsors to tap the untapped market:)

June 3, 2008 at 07:18 AM · Here in Poland they make prunes by drying them out in a smoke house. If done badly they're like cinder, horrible. But done well, they're soft, juicy with a lovely oaky smokey smell and flavour. Heavenly. Might not be as healthy as California dried-in-the-sun but hey...

I've used them to make a stuffed pork roll roast - to die for. Even added them to cookies. Freshly baked, they're heavenly. And all that sugar in the cookies balances the other effect so you don't spend the next morning in the small room. Just remembered - got some in the fridge. Need my iron fix.

June 24, 2008 at 01:23 AM · Well my mom makes really good prune hamantaschen.

June 24, 2008 at 01:43 AM · What is hamantaschen?

June 24, 2008 at 07:17 AM · I answer your query about "hamantaschen" by way of a limerick:

A pastry in the shape of a hat,

Worn by Haman, it's a tri-cornered one at that

In Ancient Persia he was prime minister,

Wanted all Jews killed which was quite sinister

But was hanged, got his just "desserts" , the dirty rat!

June 24, 2008 at 09:07 PM · I got a big bag of fresh plums this week, picked off a plum tree growing in my student's yard. They are small, but juicy and sweet. There is NO WAY these plums are going to get dried out and turned into prunes. Mm.

Life is good.

June 24, 2008 at 10:31 PM · 'This Is Just To Say'

I have eaten

the prunes

that were in

the icebox

and which

you were probably


for breakfast.

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold.

June 24, 2008 at 11:41 PM · We absolve you, Buri.

June 25, 2008 at 02:20 AM · "so sweet and so cold". Buri you are quoting (knowingly or not) from a Louis Armstrong classic, "St. James Infirmary"

"I went down to the St James infirmary

Saw my baby there

Stretched out on a long white table

So fair"

June 25, 2008 at 04:06 AM · Greetings,

I think Armstrong was actually quoting William Carlos Williams who wrote the original. One of the most beautiful poems about virginity ever written.



June 25, 2008 at 04:57 AM · although there is a much better poem about prunes from the same source...

munching a prune on

the street a paper bag

of them in her hand

They taste good to her

They taste good

to her. They taste

good to her

You can see it by

the way she gives herself

to the one half

sucked out in her hand


a solace of ripe prunes

seeming to fill the air

They taste good to her



June 25, 2008 at 07:28 PM · Prescribing prunes for years, Buri has been a visionnary since scientists recently brought to light the most powerful antioxydant properties of prunes.

June 25, 2008 at 08:12 PM · Here here! I propose that establishes an annual Prune Award, given to the most wise and creative contributor to the site. Buri, of course, gets the first one. :)

July 1, 2008 at 12:29 AM · Wow-I completely forgot about this thread. How interesting. I just came back from camp and remembered it, so I looked it up.

Nice answers everybody. I have a feeling there is still a dark secret behind Buri and his anal-retentiveness.

We need a full time analyst/private eye to find out all the secrets of prunes. The Chosen One.

July 1, 2008 at 12:57 AM · Greetings,

your blog was a great read. I am glad to see you are doing so well.

Time for a little romance...?

With prunes of course,



July 1, 2008 at 12:59 AM · Those who are one with the Prune cannot, by deffinition, be anal retentive.

July 1, 2008 at 02:30 AM · "Prunes do not conCERN me, Admiral" (voice tremulously reverberates) ".....I WANT that ship"

"Errr, yes Lord Vader, it's just that I had this plate of prunes I thought you might like...err, Yes, Lord Vader (backing out of the throne room, quickly, then turns and runs as he reaches the door, spilling the prunes everywhere on the floor...)

July 1, 2008 at 04:08 AM · What a funny thread. Sandy wins the poetry prize (goodness, what did you drink with dinner tonight?), but many, many contenders for sheer entertainment and/or informational value.

I find it interesting that they are now called dried plums on the bag. (And I buy them by the bagful - five a day, every day, since forever.) And I find it even more interesting to note that the bag of them I bought last week had both "dried plums" and "prunes" written on it. What, did the "prune is a good name too" folks come in and argue?

Get the fat, plump ones. Good snack food.

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