Thirty years later, there still hasn't been a better sounding "Zarathustra". There have been more analytical recordings (including Karajan 1984), and higher-fidelity, but the beauty of the sounds that emerge from the speakers transcends any technical considerations. (It is earphone-safe too, with no peaking or distortion.) More importantly, the music ebbs and flows naturally, like the thoughts of a great mind: Karajan was a Strauss master, and so, it seems, was every member of the Berlin Philharmonic. (Special praise to the concert master, Michel Schwalbé, who delivers the Tanzlied with admirable purity of tone and Viennese Schwung and yes, a sense of ecstasy.) This is exhilarating stuff, whether you want to commune with the spirit of Nietzsche, or revel in orchestral virtuosity, or watch galaxies form.