THINK of the traditional New Year’s Day gala and you’ll almost certainly conjure up Johann Strauss and Imperial Vienna.

But not so fast.

That other great city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire just along the Danube has its own magnificent musical history and legacy.

The traditional gypsy folklore music played in the restaurants and coffee houses of Budapest inspired many a composer, including Johannes Brahms and Franz Liszt.

And so the Viennese Gala performed by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at Lighthouse Poole was the tale of two cities, with the accent very much on Budapest.

Maestro and self proclaimed tour guide, Gergely Madaras, joked he might be favouring his birthplace, but he did study in Vienna for five years, constantly commuting between the two.

Although the stars of the BSO always shine and produced another compelling and utterly joyous performance, they would not have begrudged the two soloists taking centre stage.

The conductor’s Hungarian compatriots Lajos Sarkozy Jr on violin and Jeno Listzes on Hungary’s most famous instrument, the 133-string cimbalom, received rapturous applause.

Sarkozy’s family has been playing the violin for 200 years and despite travelling the world, he makes time to perform in a Budapest restaurant once a week to keep this particular tradition alive.

The Strauss favourites delighted the full house of course - the Blue Danube, Kaiserwaltzer, the rip roaring opener the Die Fledermaus Overture, delightful Cuckoo Polka and mandatory Radetzky March as the finale.

But it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise if many in the audience found Brahms’ very familiar Hungarian Dances 1,4,5 and Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 to be the highlights of a spectacularly joyful afternoon.

There were plenty of smiles at the end, as wide as the Schonen, Blauen Donau.

And it’s clear this is one concert the musicians enjoy just as much as the paying guests.