I agree with him on both points.
But, there is controversy afoot ! The score show the lead into this critical climatic section has a diminuendo on the tympani, which has long been thought, by some, to be a copyist error. Many therefore effect a crescendo and diminuendo on the tympanis at this point (Karajan, Gergiev, Mravinsky and yes, Currentzis!), thus ignoring the score. Currentzis then goes further by repeating this "trick" several times in between the famous trombone incantations(which is actually a Russian Orthodox Chant for the dead) immediately afterwards, none of which are marked in the score either (but are rather effective) ! Part of the problem facing conductors at this point is that if they maintain Tchaikovsky's tempo here, it's also very difficult to maintain tension. Karajan and Mravinsky, to name two, avoid this by speeding up slightly; Currentzis gets around it by inserting the aforementioned (and unmarked) crescendos on the tympani.
I should mention at this point that I'm not in possession of Tchaikovsky's own handwritten autographed score and so had to check my sources by following a performance on Youtube (a rather good one actually, with Gergiev and the Mariinsky), but I remember this "controversy" from elsewhere. Plus I should also point out how refreshing it is to be debating the finer points of a new recording of staple repertory work in such a respectful and fair manner. Long may both reasoned debate and "interesting" new recordings continue on MW ! So Marc, if I have misunderstood you at all, apologies in advance and do point out the errors of my ways !
So if anyone reading this is curious to hear/sample Currentiz's 'Pathetique', the third movement (memorably - and accurately - described by MW's Ralph Moore as "being on steroids") is available on Youtube here :
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