During the darkest years of the Cold War almost no East German conductors were known in the West except for Kurt Sanderling. I have seen Konwitschny's name floating around the edges for some time. Wikipedia informs us that he was nicnamed Kon-whiskey for his heavy drinking, which may also suggest why he died at 61 in 1962. A violist by training (as was Giulini), Konwitschny was among the elite musicians in E. Germany, holding a lont tenure with the Leipzig Gewandhuas and a short one (tow years) with the much finer Dresden Staatskapelle. Given the total destruction of that venerable city by Allied bombing, this mid-Fifties Sinfonia domestica is like a faded memory of a very gray, dismal time.
Happily, the orchestra plays very well, much better than any E. Berlin ensemble of the day (Konwitschny also conducted there at the end of his career), and for execution this CD can hold its head up with notable Sinfonia domesticas from Furtuwangler (in wartime mono) George Szell, Fritz Reiner, and above all, Karajan. It's a fresh, generally swift, highly detailed reading, sharper in focus than most but not with Szell's razor's edge. After all, you can't swallow Strauss's vaid family scenario without a sense of humor. As with all the best readings, Konwitschny gets us to focus on the glories of the music, which is as it should be. Sonics are about average for that era, if a bit distant.
As a filler we get the briefly famous "Jena" symphony that wishful thinking attributed to Beethoven for a time. Under Witt's name it is pleasant and unremarkable post-Mozart classicism. sonics are a bit better than for the main work.