Classic American song never went away. It was just drowned out for a spell. Now it's making a comeback, helped along this season by the Corcoran's Great American Songwriters series.

Who could better bring it up to date than that poll-winning pair, Jackie Cain and Roy Kral, together in song these three decades plus?

Starting a few minutes late by reason of a stalled elevator (only Laurel and Hardy would try to carry a grand piano up the stairs), the Krals kicked off the opening concert with polished and heartfelt renditions of nearly two dozen compositions of Stephen Sondheim and Alec Wilder. Weaving in and out of each other, coattailing, in unison passages, the one voice a mirror image of the other, or carrying the song alone, they put together a program of commitment, sensitivity and wit. It was a neat balance of ballads and upbeat, lighthearted frivolity and the anquish of despair, lyrics in tact and vocalese.

They were assisted by a tight but supple rhythm section of Paul Johnson, vibes; Dean Johnson, bass; and Steve Bagby, drums. Kral was at the piano. v

Outstanding in their well-received performance was Cain's poignant homage to the late Alec Wilder (he died Christmas Eve) on his "Remember, My Child."

The five part series continues with vocalist-pianist Dardanell and bassist George Duvivier interpreting the music of Richard Rogers on Sunday, Jan. 25.