Since Independence Day is just around the corner, I wanted to post something that was truly American and by a "truly American" composer. Charles Ives was the first to come to mind. Ives isn't one you'd think of as "truly American" in the way that he was some sort of "patriot." Ives was "simply American" and the impressions and experiences from late 19th and early 20th century America are evident in many of his compositions.
This composition is an arrangement of "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" which served as one of our country's "national anthems" until the "Star Spangled Banner" was officially designated the anthem in 1931. The description on the YouTube video shares this composition's story well: "In 1948, E. Power Biggs contacted Ives inquiring if he had composed any organ music that Biggs might perform on his weekly radio program. After Biggs helped Ives recover this long-forgotten piece, he performed it on his July 4th broadcast that year, and the work was finally published in 1949."
How was this piece long-forgotten? Ives had written it 57 years earlier when he was only seventeen years old. It was never published at the time until it was rediscovered due to Biggs request.
Was this piece a joke--a satire on the American song? Ives' biographer Jan Swafford notes that while it might be tempting to hear Variations on "America" as a satire, the probability is that Ives meant the work as a sincere exercise in variations for organ. He adds that Ives was capable of musical jokes, but they are usually done in a much bigger way than here.  Ives was not deaf to its comic potential however: he later noted that his father didn't let him play it much, as it made the boys laugh" in church. (Charles Ives: A Life with Music - Norton, 1996 and Memos - Calder & Boyars 1993)
There is some notable experimentation with bitonality in the interludes: F and D-flat major in the first and A-flat and F in the second.
Enjoy this exposure to the very creative mind of young Ives and played on this grand instrument by one of the great organists of all time.