They finally arrived at the weekend - with some birthday money my Mum had sent me I ordered a batch of classical CDs from Europadisc. I am really enjoying unpacking these and listening my way through them:
Bach - St Matthew Passion, Gardiner, Archiv
Brahms - Complete Symphonies , Günter Wand, RCA Classics
Beethoven/Mendelssohn - Violin Concertos, Munch, Heifetz, RCA
Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No.2, Ashkenazy, Kondrashin, DECCA
Beethoven Symphonies 5 & 7 - Kleiber, VPO, DG
The Kleiber in particular has lived up to expectations - I knew this recording had a special reputation but Beethoven 5 is so familiar I wasn't expecting too much. In the event it raised the hairs on the back of my neck.
It helps that I have been fiddling with my hifi. One of the (few) advantages of being single is that you can move your hifi when you want to. It is now set up in the optimum position opposite the sofa with the speakers nicely spaced. And it sounds superb. It is getting on in years, nearly 20 years old now, and it still sounds great. Mission CD player and amp, with Ruark speakers, it was a substantial and not very wise purchase when I was a young man with a growing family, but gosh it has given me a lot of pleasure in the years since.