Thanks for all of the recommendations.
Based on the suggestions here, I went to a nearby store and auditioned the Energy CB5 and Wharfedale 9.0. We were auditioning classical music - Vaughan William's Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis (lots of massed strings) and Prokofiev's Piano Concerto #2 (piano and dynamic orchestra).
Both speakers left A LOT to be desired. The Energy were missing most of the detail from midrange and below, and the Wharfedale were distinctly dim and unexciting. We moved up to the Wharfedale 9.1, and while there was much greater resolution of detail, the top was clearly rolled off (missing, I would say).
The salesman suggested that I listen to the Reel RSX made by a small Canadian company called selling at $300 for the pair. The size was as small as the Energy and Wharfedale, but already I was hearing far more detail.
I then asked what's next in the Reel line and was played a pair of RSTC, which are really centre speakers, but can be turned to stand vertically. Being so narrow, they fit my dad's size requirements.
I was BLOWN AWAY by what I heard. These little elongated speakers were alive, detailed and VERY RESPECTABLE for their price. Now, I don't wish to mislead anyone with these adjectives. My main system consists of a pair of Legacy Whisper and matching CODA amplifiers. I am well familiar with how my reference recordings can sound on a top system, and I am not suggesting in any way that the REEL even came close. But for an office pair, occupying very small space, they are far superior to any other speaker combination that I heard that day.
I also ordered recently the Audioengine A5 for my own office (which are too big for my dad's available space) and will be curious to compare their sound to the REEL RSTC.
I ended up spending $460 (which is triple my original intention), but gave my dad speakers that fit his space requirement and do considerable justice to classical music. Here is a link to the Reel site, if anyone is interested in checking them. I've found almost no reviews of these speakers.http://www.reelacoustics.us.com/category_s/12.htm