While I am an Avalon fan, and have no doubt that they are a top-flight choice, I have not heard the Ascendant. I have heard the Vandy's on quite a few occasions (with Aesthetix and Cary components), and found them very impressive. Last time I heard them I thought that the soundstage seemed a little small, but I think it was a combination of a lower volume level and the fact that I had just listened in the next room to the Vandy 7s, which are exceptional speakers that throw a huge soundstage. On prior occasions I did not have that same feeling. The Vandersteens are very well-designed and tonally balanced, excellent speakers for the music you mention.