The beginning of the 1960s saw Sir Malcolm Arnold involved in a large amount of music for stage and screen, for as well as the Song of Simeon and the 80 minutes of film music he wrote, he was involved in Parasol, his one and only musical. Written specifically for television in collaboration with Caryl Brahms and a young Ned Sherrin, he completed it in early January. Arnold seems to be having fun with the critics – as Berlioz did in L’Enfance du Christ, testing the Paris critics by planting an enharmonic modulation in a supposed mediaeval work he had ‘discovered’. There was at the time much discussion of serial music and Arnold used retrogrades, one of the basic elements of that style, to construct his scherzo. The scherzo which follows is one of the most dynamic Arnold ever wrote. Like the first movement it is based on a number of related themes and fragments.